David Reynolds topped the overcast but sweltering FP3 session at Bathurst today, putting the Pro-Am #75 SunEnergy1 Mercedes ahead of the entire Pro field.
His time of 2:04.9312 was the only lap in the 2:04’s, with Luca Stolz in the #77 Craft-Bamboo Black Falcon Mercedes AMG the best of the Pro cars with a 2:05.1670. That car was repaired after their earlier shunt in FP2; a broken rear suspension arm diagnosed as the cause of that earlier off.
The session was clear from start to finish, with no major incidents to report. Most teams spent the first part of the session bedding drivers and performing driver changes, ensuring everyone had an opportunity to drive if they missed out this morning.
There were problems however at Bentley Team M-Sport with both cars spending the latter half of the session in the pits after a frantic 30 seconds in the Bentley pit box.
The #8 refused to launch after a driver change, resulting in the car getting pulled into the garage. As this occurred, the #7 rolled into the pit box at an awkward angle around the #8. As the pit stop ended for the #7, steam was reported to spew out of the front of the Bentley Continental, resulting in a large puddle in pit lane and the #7 heading to the garage as well. As of yet, there has been no news on the cause behind either of these issues.
From the other cars with problems this morning, most managed to return to the track. The #12 Earl Bamber Motorsport Porsche performed an engine change in the break between sessions, finishing FP3 in 14th, while the #62 R-Motorsport Aston Martin completed 25 laps, finishing the session as the last pro car in 30th.
The news is less positive from the #35 KCMG outfit; the car missing the session entirely and likely to require off-site repair after their incident in FP1. The other KCMG Nissan finished the session in third, with Joao Paulo De Oliveira setting a 2:05.2972 to be the early benchmark.
The top five was completed by another pair of Mercedes AMG’s; GruppeM’s #999 ahead of Triple Eight’s #888, who just managed to slip into the top five at the hands of Shane Van Gisbergen with the last lap of the session. The rest of the 10 featured all three Pro Porsches and a pair of Pro Audis. Interestingly Vervish at the seat of the #2 Audi Sport Team Valvoline R8 set the fastest sector two times of the session, continuing Audi’s reputable pace over the top of the mountain. However, his best lap was only good enough for 10th place.
Mercedes AMG’s strong pace was continued in the Silver class, with Patrick Assenheimer leading the field in the #46 Black Falcon AMG, 13th overall. The Invitational class was topped by Adam Hargraves in the #20 T2 Racing MARC II, while GT4 went the way of RHC Jorgensen/Storm in the #13 BMW M4.