The top 10 shootout for the Bathurst 1000 was cancelled after torrential rain flooded parts of Mount Panorama, making it too dangerous for cars to go on the circuit.
Race Control officials made the unprecedented decision to abort Saturday’s final qualifying – where the top 10 drivers from Friday’s first timed session were set to battle it out for pole position – on safety grounds.
Organisers inspected the track less than an hour before the scheduled start but decided it was too unsafe to proceed after a massive thunderstorm had drenched the famous circuit, leaving large pools of surface water on the track.
“Obviously, we had that big downpour of rain, which had a lot in it. There was a lot of run off coming across the circuit,” Supercars CEO Shane Howard said.
“The officials gave it every chance they could with giving it some time to see if it improved, (they) actually tried to redivert where the main watercourse was coming on to the track itself but unfortunately, it was just too much there and it wasn’t dissipating and it was just shooting across the circuit, particularly at the exit of turn one really bad.
“So the officials deemed it unsafe to compete and obviously we can’t compromise driver safety. It’s extraordinarily disappointing for everyone.
The decision to cancel the shootout means the starting grid for Sunday’s 161-lap race was determined by Friday’s qualifying times.
Cameron Waters will start from pole position after he set the fastest time the previous day.
“I’m disappointed to be honest, I really love the shootout around here, it’s pretty special to get the place to yourself for a lap,” Waters said.
“But the rain was crazy and you saw the rivers and everything going on, it was going to be a bit of a safety thing.
“I’m disappointed, but awesome to be starting on pole. It’s cool to be starting on pole again around here.
“I was ready to go, I put my suit on and I was listening to music and I saw the lap that the guys did around the track and I thought we were going to get going.
“As soon as you get a river, you aquaplane and you have got no control over the car and you don’t want to be writing cars off the day before the big race.
“Yesterday it was pretty wild in the wet where there was a river across the Chase, turn one had literally no control of the car through that part.
“But yesterday we were lucky that once you got past the river the track was actually pretty good where today everything is just drenched.
“Disappointed but I think the officials have made the right call.”
Waters also started from pole two years ago but is yet to win the Great Race, finishing runner-up in each of the last two years.
The Ford Mustang driver will be joined on the front row by last year’s Bathurst 1000 winner Lee Holdsworth.
Speaking before the session was cancelled, Holdsworth said: “It looks pretty hairy out there. I wouldn’t want to be the first (driver) out.”
Chaz Mostert starts from third with Richie Stanaway moving to fourth after Shane van Gisbergen was demoted three places by the steward for colliding with Macaulay Jones on Friday.
“All our great fans who sat out there waiting for that to happen,” Howard said.
“And it was obviously disappointing for the drivers as well because they want to go but we had to make the decision and now we’re looking forward to Sunday, which has a much better forecast.”
RACES ALSO CANCELLED
After a downpour hit the circuit just before the start of the race, Bradi Owen slid off the track and into the sand trap in the treacherous conditions.
Then Alex Hadden lost control of his car and skidded sideways on the section of the track before his car ran into Owen’s car and turned onto its side.
But both drivers were able to get out of their cars and walk away from the incident.
Supercars then made the decision to cancel Saturday afternoon’s Super2 race, due to the condition of the track.
Race two of the sport’s feeder series was due to start at 4pm, but there were rivers of water running across the track.
WHAT ABOUT QUALIFYING?
Runaway series leader Shane van Gisbergen has been handed a three-spot grid penalty for the Bathurst 1000 after an incident late in Friday’s qualifying session.
The defending Supercars champion finished fourth in the wet qualifying session, but came under investigation by race stewards for an incident with Brad Jones Racing’s Macauley Jones on his final timed lap.
Van Gisbergen made contact with Jones at turn 13, sending the BJR driver sliding into the outside wall and sustaining heavy damage to the rear of the car.
The stewards later confirmed the penalty, which will be applied to the qualifying position after Saturday’s top 10 shootout.
Despite the weather warnings, Supercars chief executive Shane Howard is adamant the annual race will go ahead as planned.
“In light of the weather forecast over the coming days, patrons are encouraged to plan accordingly,” he said on Wednesday.
“Sessions will begin for all categories on track on Thursday and run through until Sunday’s great race.
“Off track entertainment at the top and bottom of the mountain will also proceed as planned.
“We will act accordingly to ensure the safety of patrons and competitors at all times.”
What time does the race start?
11am SUNDAY OCT 8
Originally published as Bathurst 1000 2022: Top 10 shootout cancelled after torrential rain flooded the track