Bathurst rocked by frightening crash for third-consecutive day

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·Sports Reporter
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Australian GT driver Peter Hackett was the latest wheelman to ask slightly too much of the Mount Panorama circuit, walking away unscathed after slamming into the wall atop the mountain. Pictures: Fox Sports
Australian GT driver Peter Hackett was the latest wheelman to ask slightly too much of the Mount Panorama circuit, walking away unscathed after slamming into the wall atop the mountain. Pictures: Fox Sports

The smash repair industry could single-handedly boost the Australian economy if the early running ahead of this weekend's Bathurst 1000 is anything to go by.

Racing has returned to the Mount Panorama circuit after the great race was postponed due to lockdowns and travel restrictions in NSW earlier in the year.

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Drivers are having a bit of trouble getting to grips with the demanding circuit with the motorsport world's attention focused on Bathurst, with the early running of practice sessions and Supercars support categories producing plenty of carnage.

Friday marked the third day of racing on the mountain in preparation for the Supercars series finale on Sunday, with Australian GT driver Peter Hackett becoming the latest victim of the Bathurst circuit.

Hackett lost control of the rear while thundering across the top of the mountain at more than 200 kilometres per hours as he headed towards the McPhillamy Park left hander.

With his rear sliding left to right along the undulating part of the circuit at the top of the mountain, there was little Hackett could do to prevent his Mercedes AMG from slamming into the concrete barrier.

He was able to get himself out of the damaged car on his own power a short time later.

Commentator Andrew Jones said it demonstrated the fine margins drivers were playing with around the Bathurst circuit.

"And that's parked heavy into the wall there," Jones said.

"Speeds across the top of the hill in these GT cars are incredibly high, well up in the 200km/h mark, so that impact is going to be really heavy regardless of where he is on the track over there.

"He's had what we call in the game 'a tank slapper' that he hasn't been able to keep hold of.

"The back of the car was dancing around, Peter was trying to catch it and wasn't able to."

There have already been a number of heavy crashes this week, with Chris Pither enduring a crunching impact during Supercars practice, while Supercars support category drivers Nash Morris and Angelo Mouzouris also pushing a bit too hard.

Ford's Cam Waters sets sizzling Bathurst pace

Last year's Bathurst 1000 runner-up Cameron Waters has cleaned up his second practice session of the weekend to be firmly in contention for his maiden title at Mount Panorama.

The Ford ace backed up his Thursday performance with another sizzling drive to pip reigning champion Shane van Gisbergen.

Waters, who is matched up with James Moffat, will be hoping to replicate his practice and qualifying drives in Sunday's Great Race.

The Tickford driver claimed pole last year, but the duo of van Gisbergen and Garth Tander trumped him for the crown.

Van Gisbergen will again be hard to beat and is building his pace nicely.

The Supercars champion-elect led much of Friday morning's session as he aims to finish off an outstanding season on a high.

Ford driver Cam Waters set a blistering pace in practice ahead of the Supercars season finale at the Bathurst 1000. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
Ford driver Cam Waters set a blistering pace in practice ahead of the Supercars season finale at the Bathurst 1000. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

In an all-driver practice session, van Gisbergen looked at ease on track with Chaz Mostert ending up with the third-fastest time.

Mostert's co-driver is popular veteran Lee Holdsworth, who has described this partnership as his best chance to win the Bathurst 1000.

Holdsworth was quickest in Thursday's co-driver session and is appearing at Mount Panorama for the 18th-straight year.

The 38-year-old's best finish in the Bathurst 1000 was third back in 2009 with Michael Caruso.

There will be a second practice session for all drivers on Friday before qualifying begins in earnest later in the day.

The first qualifying session will be crucial in deciding the grid for the 161-lap race.

The slowest 15 drivers on Friday will be knocked out of qualifying, with the rest set-up for the top-10 shootout on Saturday.

With AAP

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