The threat of rain at Bathurst looks like being the only thing that can slow down Supercars series champion Scott McLaughlin.
A maiden Bathurst title appears McLaughlin’s to lose after the Ford gun claimed pole in an astonishing two minutes, 03.83 seconds – the fastest Supercars lap ever seen at Mount Panorama.
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.
The New Zealander was reduced to tears when he realised the enormity of his achievement.
But he quickly regained his composure after wet weather was predicted for Sunday’s 161-lap classic.
“It looks like there will be a fair bit of rain tomorrow so it will be completely different to today,” McLaughlin said after topping the 26-strong field.
“We start on pole but we have 26 spots to lose.
“We will worry about that when we get there, work out a plan – but I am pretty confident.”
McLaughlin’s qualifying effort has been described as the new “Lap of the Gods”, first coined when fellow flying Kiwi Greg Murphy shattered the lap record back in 2003.
“I dreamed of doing this since I was a kid,” McLaughlin said of his record.
“We’ve still got plenty of work ahead of us tomorrow, but what an incredible day.”
Sunday will be even better if he can address his Achilles heel – his starts.
Besides Bathurst’s infamous ever changing weather, McLaughlin’s other concern for Sunday is his lacklustre race start reaction time from the front row of the grid.
He has had plenty of practice from the pointy end – for the 18th straight race he will start from the front row on Sunday.
And he claimed a Supercars record 14th pole for the season on Saturday.
Not surprisingly McLaughlin backed himself to address the sole chink in his armour despite lining up against Holden’s fast starting David Reynolds on the front row on Sunday.
“I am getting better, I think,” he said.
“Last round at Sandown was better, and on our test day I did about a billion starts.
“Davey and (third fastest) Mark Winterbottom are very strong and I am not as amazing as them at it but I am getting more consistent.”