#999 GruppeM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: Maro Engel, Mikael Grenier, Raffaele Marciello

Mercedes takes BoP hit after rapid Bathurst qualifying

The Mercedes-AMG GT3s were clearly the class of the field at Mount Panorama today, with GruppeM driver Engel topping the final qualifying session for the Intercontinental GT Challenge opener before going toe-to-toe with Triple Eight young gun Broc Feeney in the pole shootout.

A rapid final lap from Engel sealed the Allan Simonsen Pole Award, his 2m00.881s the fastest ever lap for a GT3 car around Mount Panorama.

Matt Campbell was the best-performing driver outside of the Mercedes camp, putting his EMA-Manthey Porsche 911 GT3 R third on the grid with a time two-tenths adrift of Engel’s effort.

The best BMW M4 GT3 was eight-tenths adrift of pole in the hands of 2018 Bathurst winner Dries Vanthoor and will start fifth, while the best-placed Audi R8 LMS Evo II pedalled by two-time Bathurst 1000 winner Chaz Mostert was nine-tenths slower than Engel’s benchmark.

Event organiser SRO has responded with a raft of BOP changes that will take effect ahead of tomorrow’s round-the-clock race.

Mercedes is set to be smacked with 10 kilograms of additional weight as well as revised lambda settings.

The Porsches will cop and extra five kilograms of weight, while the Audis and BMWs will be able to drop 10 kilograms.

There is also set to be a change to the minimum tyre pressure which was mandated at 1.4 bar when leaving pitlane.

That will be replaced with a 1.85 bar minimum measured when the tyres are hot (after eight laps of green flag running).

The Bathurst 12 Hour kicks off at 5:45am Sunday morning local time.

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