Jake Dennis takes Allan Simonsen Trophy, GruppeM Merc on pole

THE grid-setting Top Ten Shootout has seen Aston Martin’s Jake Dennis dominate the one lap sprint, taking the Allan Simonsen Trophy on debut.

R-Motorsport’s man clocked the fastest time as the last driver on track, recording a lap of 2:02.4946 around Mount Panorama to go over four tenths clear of the pack for pole and the Allan Simonsen Trophy.

However, due to a two-place grid penalty thanks to a pit lane speeding penalty in qualifying, it will be the #999 Team GruppeM Racing entry which will start from the number one position in tomorrow’s 12 Hour race.

Raffaele Marciello drove the wheels off the #999 Mercedes-AMG GT3 as the second car on the road, his time staying at the top of the time sheets until Dennis’ effort knocked him off the perch.

Alexandre Imperatori was the first car on track, his time of 2:04.1910 ended up as the slowest of the session as Marciello and then Christopher Haase in the #2 Audi R8 beat it.

Haase had a scrappy lap, 2:03.7828 was the best he could muster which ended up only being good enough for ninth. His team-mate Kelvin van der Linde was one of four cars to do a lap in the 2:03.1’s, a 2:03.1791 to be exact which resulted in the #22 starting sixth tomorrow.

Steven Kane was Bentley’s sole runner in the shootout session, going close but not close enough to knock off Marciello with a 2:03.1083, starting on the second row in fourth on Sunday.

Matt Campbell was the first Australian to complete a lap, struggling to get temperature into his tyres which resulted in a lap of 2:03.1863 around Mount Panorama. The #912 Porsche 911 will start from seventh in the 12 Hour.

Next on the run home was Yelmer Buurman, starting the run of three Mercedes-AMG GT3 cars in a row. The Dutchman lost time throughout the lap, managing a 2:03.3646, good enough only for eighth position on the grid.

As the only driver to score pole in the event before on the 12 Hour grid, Maro Engel hit the track next. A good first sector turned into a slower end to the lap, bringing the big Merc home in third with a 2:03.0419, starting second tomorrow due to Dennis’ penalty.

David Reynolds was the last Australian to hit the road, driving the #777 with fellow Aussies Luke Youlden and Yasser Shahin. The two-time Bathurst 1000 pole-sitter dropped in to fifth with a 2:03.1735, down on the time he would have hoped for.

Finally it was the turn of Jake Dennis who went four tenths up on provisional pole in the first sector, losing a bit of time over the top but clawing it back in the final sector to go 0.4402 of Marciello.

The top ten order for tomorrow’s grid will be #999, #77, #62, #107, #777, #22, #912, #19, #2 and #18 in the first five rows of the grid.

Words: Jordan Mulach