Shane Smollen and Rodney Forbes have proven to be the ones to watch in tomorrow???s two GT3 Cup Challenge races. Both drivers have posted top five results in practice and qualifying at Bathurst for round one of the championship in their Autohaus Hamilton prepared 997s.
In just his second outing in the 997 Cup Car, Smollen posted an impressive 2:19.1956 in practice session one, despite having a near miss entering the Chase while on a flying lap. After passing two slower cars down Conrod Straight, Smollen was forced to run wide on the exit of the right hand kink before the Chase. He then took a small detour over the grass before rejoining the track midway through the Chase.
The pace continued for Smollen through qualifying. With limited experience in the wet, he managed to finish in fifth on the time charts with a time of 2:27.8394. With a drying track, the lap times were getting quicker however a slower car held up the Sydney racer towards the end of the session, preventing any improvement on his time.
??oday???s been a patchy day but we???ve been competitive given that it???s our second meeting in the 997 and our first in the wet,??commented Smollen at the conclusion of qualifying. ??he car???s great. The new engine seems to be going well and it???s handling really well, so hopefully we can put on a good show tomorrow.??/p>
Rodney Forbes??? day was just as good, claiming third in practice with a 2:19.8733. His day got even better in qualifying with his 2:21.4275 lap, snatching pole position. Forbes is confident about the two races tomorrow, but has some reserve about getting off the line.
??he car feels good, and I suppose that???s the key around here.??Forbes continued, ??y biggest problem tomorrow is the fact that I haven???t done a start for a year and a half.??/p>
Shane Smollen wishes to thank the following: