Fabian Coulthard believes Bathurst 1000 is unique

FRONT AND CENTRE: Fabian Coulthard is hoping to start this year's Bathurst 1000 from the front row of the grid.
FRONT AND CENTRE: Fabian Coulthard is hoping to start this year's Bathurst 1000 from the front row of the grid.

FABIAN Coulthard is a man who knows all about the highs and lows of emotions Mount Panorama can provide a driver.

He has been involved in spectacular crashes, clocked lap records and came within fourth-hundredths of a second of standing on the podium.

Through those experiences and more in Coulthard’s 13 starts in the Bathurst 1000, he has come to appreciate the special nature of the 6.213 kilometre circuit.

“You do get goosebumps, there’s definitely a feeling, a vibe and an awe around Bathurst, but yeah once you get there and you’re living it, you’re experiencing it, it’s pretty special,” he said.

“Bathurst is very unique. You want to do your best you can like every event, but that one definitely puts itself on a pedestal and it’s one event and one race that every driver in Supercars wants to win.

“I've always said Bathurst as a track is fantastic, the race is unbelievable, but Mount Panorama chooses you as the winner.”

Naturally when Coulthard embarks on his latest bid for Bathurst glory, this year for DJR Team Penske, he hopes that he will be chosen by Mount Panorama.

But he feels he can help his cause by qualifying as close to the front of the grid as possible.

“Obviously you want a very good car for the race and also need a good qualifying car to get yourself in the top 10 shootout,” he said.

“For me the first goal is to be in the shootout. It’s two and half minutes of your car and you have the track to yourself. You very rarely get Bathurst to yourself.

“To qualify in the front row at Bathurst is something I am yet to do and that’s a fairly stressful time sitting on the grid waiting for those lights to go out.”

Last year Coulthard made it to the top 10 shootout where he clocked the fourth fastest lap. He then went on to place sixth in Sunday’s race.

That result came after a career-best fourth in 2015 – Garth Tander narrowly denying him a podium spot – when he came from ninth on the grid.

In total Coulthard has taken part in the shootout five times, with four of those appearances in the one-lap flyer having come in the last five years.

In terms of qualifying this season, Coulthard has been a solid performer.

He gone from the second row on four occasions and front row five times, including a pole position start at Perth.

Of the 19 races contested this far, only three times has he started outside the top 10 on the grid.

In terms of his co-driver, after four years sharing his seat with Luke Youlden, he reunites with Tony D’Alberto.

That pair previously tackled the Great Race together in 2005, their Tasman Motorsport entry only completing 108 of the 161 laps.

This story Mountain will choose you to win: Coulthard first appeared on Western Advocate.