Shane van Gisbergen facing nervous wait after 'silly' Bathurst 1000 error

The crash between Shane van Gisbergen and Macauley Jones is shown left, with Shane van Gisbergen pictured in the pits on the right.
Shane van Gisbergen is under investigation after colliding with Macauley Jones during Bathurst 1000 qualifying, sending Jones into the wall. Pictures: Channel 7/Getty Images

A wet and wild qualifying session at the Bathurst 1000 has left Supercars championship leader Shane van Gisbergen facing the prospect of a grid penalty.

Cam Waters took provisional pole ahead of the top 10 shootout on Saturday, but it wasn't until the dying minutes of the qualifying session with all 25 cars on track that disaster struck.

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Though he was safely in the top 10 thanks to banking the fourth fastest lap earlier in the session, Van Gisbergen collided with Macauley Jones coming across the Skyline sequence, tipping the young driver backwards into the wall in the sodden conditions.

Impressively, all drivers otherwise managed to keep out of trouble after downpours soaked Mt Panorama for much of Friday.

Several drivers had near misses but none hit the wall into the aforementioned tangle, which left Brad Jones Racing looking at a hefty repair job to get back out for practice on Saturday.

The incident prompted an investigation from race stewards, with an outcome likely to come before the shootout.

Opinions were divided as to who was at fault, with the notoriously tricky Skyline not generally considered a great place to overtake in dry conditions, let alone the slippery conditions drivers faced on Friday.

Though Van Gisbergen was on a flying lap in his Red Bull Commodore, some criticised the veteran driver for committing to the corner, while others believed Jones should have made way for the faster driver earlier in his lap, which would have ended with him coming into the pits.

Waters, who has twice finished on the podium but is yet to record a win at Bathurst, was understandably thrilled to have come out on top in such a tricky session.

"We're stoked; we just wanted to make sure we're in the 10," Waters said.

"We weren't too bad in the dry earlier in the day... with the rain, we weren't sure.

"We did a good job tuning it up between practice and quali.

"The car in general was really nice to drive."

Wet and wild Bathurst 1000 qualifying produces stunning results

Waters traded blows with former teammate and two-time Bathurst champion Chaz Mostert for much of the session, with both improving on one another's best time throughout the session.

It was an impressive display from both drivers, in conditions former Supercars driver and commentator Mark Larkham described as 'extraordinarily tough' prior to the session.

“We’ve been coming here since 1963. I reckon we’re gonna see one of the toughest sessions in the history of the Mountain," he told Fox Sports.

"I think this is going to be extraordinarily tough.”

There were plenty of surprises throughout the session, most notably wildcard driver Richie Stanaway qualifying fifth for the shootout in his first race since 2019.

Stanaway had retired at the end of the 2019 season, but had planned to return for last year's Bathurst 1000 alongside series legend Greg Murphy until the race was called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fortunately, the pair decided to roll those plans over for a year, with the now 50-year-old Murphy set to partner him for a guaranteed start in the top 10.

The practice session before qualifying 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.

Craig Lowndes was the next in strife, sending water flying at the pit-in lane before Brown's crash up the mountain ended a wild 55 minutes.

Earlier on Friday, Will Davison was fastest in what could be the last dry session of the weekend.

Davison clocked a 2.04.207 on an overcast morning practice session, beating Cam Waters by two tenths of a second.

The margins were fine in the first chance for teams to fine-tune their driver changes, compulsory brake rotor changes and refuelling rehearsals ahead of Sunday's race.

With AAP

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