Erebus driver Will Brown and his co-driver Anton De Pasquale are set for their first ever Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 Top 10 Shootout, after rookie De Pasquale flew their Erebus Penrite Commodore around the daunting circuit, to end up 9th fastest, in the final practice session..
De Pasquale’s effort to provisionally qualify ninth in his first attempt at the Great Race made for two Erebus Motorsport Holdens into the Shootout in conjunction with David Reynolds setting the second-fastest time.
The 23-year-old arrived at Erebus this year off the back of two years in the Dunlop Super2 Series and drove in the Bathurst 250 in only the former season given that last year’s did not pay series points.
His fastest lap of the weekend in 2016 was 2:08.2615s in a previous-generation Paul Morris Motorsport FG Falcon.
He qualified for tomorrow afternoon’s Shootout with a 2:04.6942s after no dry practice time either today or the day prior, with fellow rookie co-driver Will Brown on-track when the weather cleared during Practice 4.
“It was probably the most mentally stressful (experience) I’ve ever driven a car,” said De Pasquale.
“The quickest I’ve ever done here in a Supercar is like a high-eight or something, so I had to find four seconds.
“I still don’t know what I’m doing, but I’ll have a look at what Dave did and compare.
“Obviously it’s a really cool track and a cool car. It’s good to both be in the top 10 and have a go tomorrow arvo.”
Reynolds, the 2015 Bathurst 1000 pole-sitter, was full of praise for his younger team-mate.
“It’s weird because neither of us have done a dry run all day, all weekend.
“That was our very first dry run and we had to put our balls on the line and go as hard as we could.
“He (De Pasquale) was stressing out really bad because he was like ‘I’ve only done DVS (Super2) here and I wasn’t really sure how to do it.’
“I said ‘Don’t worry ace, you’ll surprise yourself’. And he did, he killed it.”
It will be the second time in as many years that Reynolds is second-last on-track for the Shootout, in which he qualified second last year before he and Luke Youlden went on to win the Great Race for the first time.
“The Shootout day is probably one of the better days; It’s the most enjoyable day,” he said.
“Tomorrow we’ll probably only roll a handful of laps and one of them is probably the most high pressure laps of the year.
“Looking forward to it; same spot as where we started from last year in the Shootout.
“I’m just glad the rain buggered off; given us a chance to do well.”
The Armor All Top 10 Shootout starts at 1710 local time/AEST on Saturday, after Practice 6 in the morning at 1000.