Wild weather caused carnage for drivers competing in the Toyota 86 series at Bathurst on Friday, with cars spinning in multiple directions and the rain also saw qualifying for V8 supercars paused.
In chaotic scenes, the safety car during the Toyota 86 race was called on the first lap after leader Jobe Stewart aquaplaned. Several other drivers behind Stewart followed suit, before David Schulz hit the wall on the inside at the famous track in the NSW Central Tablelands.
He then left many racing enthusiasts on edge after driving back to the pits as his bonnet popped up, blocking his sight of other competitors. If that wasn’t enough, on the re-start several drivers aquaplaned just like Stewart, spinning in a number of different directions at break-neck speed.
Reigning Supercars champion van Gisbergen guided his Holden through torrential rain and a circuit blanketed in water to finish over a second faster than his team principal, crossing the line in a slick 2:30.292. Whincup finished second-fastest in 2:31.296.
Widespread rain hammered the Mount Panorama track, with the practice session called early when Will Brown lost control. The session was pure carnage. It began with a red flag triggered by Todd Hazelwood early then Tim Slade found the barriers.
Cam Hill lost control at the pit-entry lane and another red flag came after Macauley Jones spun off the track. Ahead of the Bathurst 1000 on Sunday, rain is expected the entire weekend, ensuring testing conditions for drivers in the NSW Central Tablelands.
The race ended early after lap five, with Zach Bates recording a gritty win. Elsewhere, Red Bull Ampol led the charge ahead of the V8 Supercars formal qualifying session, as Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup navigated diabolical conditions to set the fastest times in the wet.
V8 legend Craig Lowndes was the next driver in strife, sending water flying at the pit-in lane before Brown’s crash up the mountain ended a frenetic 55 minutes of action. Ahead of the Bathurst 1000 on Sunday, rain is expected the entire weekend.
In a statement, Supercars CEO Shane Howard said patrons should ‘plan accordingly’ in relation to the inclement weather. ‘The Bathurst 1000, one of Australia’s premier outdoor sporting events, will be proceeding as planned,’ he said.