Cameron Waters is the Bathurst 1000 dark horse.
Flying in his Ford to deliver a day one shock, the generation next driver edged out Scott McLaughlin in practice to confirm he is a mountain man.
Already considered a chance off upsetting McLaughlin and Jamie Whincup in the season’s biggest race, Waters clocked a 2.04.16 to put himself in the hunt for a Bathurst crown.
“I try and fly under the radar as much as I can,” Waters said.
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“I think we have slowly been making improvements and getting there which is great. It has been awesome to roll out this weekend and be fast. It was a great start and the car was really good.”
Despite having just one race win to his name, Waters, 26, is McLaughlin’s Ford heir apparent.
With the DJR/Team Penske triple-champion considering an Indy Car switch, Waters can anoint himself as Mustang’s new main man by winning Bathurst on Sunday.
Cameron Waters flies in his Ford Mustang at Mount Panorama. Picture: Daniel Kalisz/GettySource:Getty Images
“For us we have just been trying to find a little pace through the year to catch No. 17 (McLaughlin),” Waters said.
“I think traditionally my team goes quite well at Bathurst but for me this year it is about consistency. We have made a great start. We are just going to work on our race car tomorrow. There is a threat of weather but we can’t focus on that. We will worry about our car and go from there.”
McLaughlin will be out prove himself as a legitimate Bathurst champion amid suggestions his debut crown was tainted.
Scott McLaughlin was out-gunned in practice. Picture: Tim HunterSource:News Corp Australia
McLaughlin won last year’s title but was stripped of his top-ten shoot out win in a bizarre post-race penalty after he was found to be using an illegal engine in qualifying.
His team was also fined $250,000 for issuing a race changing team order.
McLaughlin clocked the second fastest time in practice three to finish in front of Red Bull rival Shane van Gisbergen.
“I think we were pretty close,” McLaughlin said.
“We were fast all day but we just made a little mistake there at the end. We are still chasing a little bit of rear stability in the car but overall, I am stoked with the way it has rolled out. I think we are in for a good weekend.”
Waters is predicting that records will not be broken this year because the COVID shuffled race will be run in warmer weather.
“I think it is slightly hotter this year and there is a lot of sun,” Waters said.
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James Moffat finished ahead of Brodie Kostecki in the co-driver session to make it a practice double for Tickford Racing while Craig Lowndes was forced to pit with a power steering issue.
“I starting smelling some oil while I was coming down Conrod Straight but I couldn‘t see any smoke,“ Lowndes said.
“I didn’t realise it was us until I got a call to come in. I was on fire (when it came in) and I got out pretty quickly because I didn’t want to breath the extinguisher gas. Hopefully we can fix.”
Originally published asBathurst 1000 dark horse stuns in blistering practice
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