BATHURST'S Brad Schumacher made the most of his small window of clean air to take pole position for Saturday's Aussie Tin Tops opening race at Mount Panorama.
Schumacher knew he'd only get one or two full speed laps around the Mount in Friday's qualifying session before he'd run into traffic, and his second flying lap of two minutes and 9.3158 seconds would be enough to land the number one spot.
And just as the day's earlier practice session indicated, the qualifying session turned into a two horse battle between Schumacher's Audi R8 LMS and Duvashen Padayachee's Porsche 991 GT3 Cup.
On two separate occasions Padayachee had set the fastest time over the first sector but had his laps interrupted by traffic.
Padayachee finished narrowly behind Schumacher with a time of 2:09.4559 while third placed Tom Taplin was more than two seconds further back with a fastest lap of 2:11.6717 in his Porsche.
Schumacher himself went for one last flying lap attempt before the end of the 20 minute session but finished eight tenths of a second behind his earlier mark.
The Bathurst driver said he had a tough choice to make starting the session: Whether to wait for tyre temperature to build up or - as the first driver to leave pit lane - put the foot down early and use the clear road ahead of him.
He went for the latter option and it paid off.
"Pole position is always what you aim for, and we knew Padayachee was going to put in a big effort towards the end. He's a professional Carrera Cup driver and very experienced, but traffic was an issue again like it was in practice," Schumacher said.
- READ MORE: Bathurst 1000, 2020: Weather forces Supercars to change race start time
- READ ALSO: Bathurst 1000, 2020: Garth Tander wants to mark Holden's full stop with a Great Race win
- READ ALSO: Bathurst 1000, 2020: Will Davison fastest in practice four as the GRM wildcard strikes trouble at The Cutting
"The issue was that by the third lap we'd be running into the slower cars. The other option was to hold back to get a good amount of temperature into the tyres first but then you risk other cars getting by you, so we went for the gamble with a hot out lap and tried to get as much temperature into the tyres as we could in that time."
Schumacher and his garage have only had to make minor changes across their first two days at the Mount.
He knows there's still several seconds potentially for his Audi R8 to give, but wasn't given the chance to unleash the full capabilities of his orange beast.
"We struggled for a bit of grip but that's something that we've heard has been an issue across the whole paddock. With COVID this year there's no been a lot of racing and there's not as much rubber on the track," he said.
"We loosened the front end and took a bit of rear wing off, and that helped us keep some weight on the front wheels. That takes a bit of control away from the rear but that's something I'm confident I can handle.
"We definitely have a lot more time in the car. Because we went for it on the second lap we were well down from a time we could do with warmed up tyres on around the fifth or sixth lap.
"It's not worth throwing it all away to try and get a slightly faster time."
Meanwhile, Bathurst's Quentin Bland had a solid start to his Combined Historics weekend with a midfield finish of 15th.
Bland lost a couple of spot from his qualifying position of 13th but he limited the damage to take his Ford Capri safely home only narrowly worse than where he started.
Saturday's two Aussie Tin Tops races start from 10.25am and 2.40pm.
The third race will be the precursor to Sunday's Bathurst 1000 at 9.35am.