Motorsport: Murphy record still the talk of Bathurst

Greg Murphy's 2003 pole-winning time of two minutes: 06.85 seconds is still the fastest qualifying lap. Photo / Getty Images
Greg Murphy's 2003 pole-winning time of two minutes: 06.85 seconds is still the fastest qualifying lap. Photo / Getty Images

It will forever be known as the "Lap of the Gods''.

Now, 10 years after highlighting his V8 greatness by setting the scorching Mount Panorama lap record time, Greg Murphy has been tipped to provide some divine intervention to Holden co-driver James Courtney's Bathurst 1000 hopes.

Murphy, 41, may be a four-time winner of the Great Race but the Kiwi veteran has not been able to walk far at the Mount Panorama circuit this week without being reminded by fans about the anniversary of "that'' lap.

No wonder - his 2003 pole-winning time of two minutes: 06.85 seconds in a Kmart Commodore is still the fastest qualifying lap ever at the demanding Bathurst track.

No one has bettered it in qualifying or the epic 51-year-old race itself.

Only Craig Lowndes went faster in 2010 - but that was during a low key practice session.

"It's humbling to go to Bathurst each year and still have fans coming up and talking to me about the lap, and I'm just glad I was able to give them an occasion to remember,'' Murphy said.

"Hopefully James and I can give all the Holden fans another happy moment at Bathurst this year.''

Indeed the buzz created by Murphy this week has some believing he may produce something special again 17 years after his first Bathurst win and nine years since his last.

Certainly Courtney is a believer.

Especially after the Holden Racing Team duo combined to finish fifth in the traditional Bathurst warm-up - the recent Sandown 500 - despite enduring two unscheduled pit stops to remove loose bodywork.

To some V8 observers, the outspoken, aggressive Murphy is not the messiah - he's just a naughty boy.

But 2010 V8 champion Courtney believes Murphy is heaven sent as he plots a maiden triumph on Mount Panorama on Sunday.

"This is my best shot ever,'' Courtney said of his Bathurst winning chances alongside Murphy.

"I have a good teammate in Murph, who did a great job at Sandown.

"At Sandown, we proved we can handle pressure and overcome setbacks, and adapt as the race unfolds.

"It gave us a good rehearsal for some of the things that might happen at Bathurst.''

A weekend win for Courtney - who has had one second and two thirds in eight Bathurst starts - would also be a major boost for his chances of nailing a second V8 drivers championship.

Fifth-placed Courtney is just 238 points behind series leader and defending Bathurst champion, fellow Holden driver Jamie Whincup.

The first of three practice sessions will be held on Thursday from 12.20pm.

- AAP

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