No one saw it coming – except for one man.
Supercars series leader Scott McLaughlin has revealed co-driver Alex Premat accurately predicted his qualifying time before setting an astonishing lap record to claim pole for Sunday’s Bathurst 1000.
Not that McLaughlin believed him at the time.
Then again, few would have.
Ford’s McLaughlin left the Bathurst faithful in shock and himself in tears of joy when he clocked two minutes, 03.83 seconds – the fastest Supercars lap ever seen on the infamous Mount Panorama street circuit.
He became the first to crack the 2min 04sec barrier on the mountain after shattering the record mark he had set barely 24 hours earlier in Friday’s practice.
Everyone from Supercars great Mark Skaife to the drunk bloke who did a trackside haka for New Zealand driver McLaughlin could scarcely believe the time.
Except maybe Premat.
“It’s funny. Alex got out of the car after practice (on Saturday) and he told me there’s a 2min03.8sec in it – I thought he was joking at the time,” McLaughlin said.
“I never thought we could do it.”
Then Holden cult hero David Reynolds threw down the gauntlet at Saturday’s top 10 qualifying.
Reynolds appeared in the box seat for pole with an impressive 2:04.27 with just McLaughlin’s flying lap left in the qualifying session.
“Davey did a pretty awesome lap and I was like ‘you bastard, I better have a crack here’,” McLaughlin said.
“I am buzzing. It is something I will never forget – it is pretty special.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
McLaughlin, 24, went on to claim another Supercars record – a 14th pole for the season.
But McLaughlin baulked at his mind blowing qualifying time being considered the new “Lap of the Gods”.
McLaughlin’s hero, fellow Kiwi Greg Murphy, earned the tag back in 2003 with a record breaking qualifying effort that stunned the Bathurst faithful.
Murphy may be a four-time King of the Mountain but he will always be remembered for that lap.
His milestone still endears the Supercars faithful despite being left behind after six time Bathurst champ Craig Lowndes first eclipsed it in 2010 on a resurfaced Mount Panorama.
McLaughlin may have done his best to ensure it becomes a distant memory after his scorching qualifying effort.
But McLaughlin still looked back on Murphy’s 2003 heroics fondly.
“That was the main thing that went through my mind when I saw the time (Murphy’s Lap of the Gods),” McLaughlin said.
“That day back then was a pretty special one not only as a fan but for New Zealand as a country.
“It was a day I will never forget – this is another.”
McLaughlin will have a maiden Bathurst title in his sights when the 161-lap Great Race starts at 11.10am on Sunday.