Eric Thompson lists his top four picks to win the Great Race - plus a rank outsider that might sneak a victory.
Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander
Van Gisbergen is the 2021 Supercars champion-elect and defending Bathurst champion. Tander has an enviable pedigree and is already a four-time Bathurst winner and defending champion. Van Gisbergen has been nigh on unbeatable this year and is as good in the wet as he is in the dry. Tander is a safe pair of hands who, if push comes to shove, is capable of pulling the pin if required and racing through the field. Both are the same build, like a very similar car and work as team.
Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes
Some would say these two would be unstoppable and on paper, with a combined 11 Bathurst wins (Whincup 4, Lowndes 7), should be a shoe in. However, there is the Whincup effect that has lost him a couple of wins. Whincup marches to his own tune and is prone to not following orders, especially at Bathurst. While that is admirable, it's a bit of an unknown and hence why they are second favourites by a gnat's hair. There is also the question of who is lead driver and who is co-driver. The pair are bound to have the crowd behind them as it's Whincup's swansong as a full-time driver.
Chaz Mostert and Lee Holdsworth
Mostert may not have had the best of results of late at Sydney Motorsport Park, but as there is no comparing the two tracks that isn't a problem. He's a past winner and was on the podium last year. His cars have been very fast on the mountain, and if it rains he'll be there or there abouts. Holdsworth missed out on a full-time drive this year, but has so much experience he'll be an asset - and he got provisional pole last year. Mostert crashed during TCR practice so might have got the possibility of doing that during the race out of the way.
Anton De Pasquale and Tony D'Alberto
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De Pasquale was a man on fire at Sydney Motorsport Park and will be heading to Mount Panorama with his tail feathers high. If he can stop crashing on the mountain, he'll be a force to be reckoned with. We all know how fast he is; he just needs to be consistent and play the long game. D'Alberto had a third with Fabian Coulthard in 2017 and finished fourth last year. He'll have to be at his best to keep up with the pace De Pasquale will no doubt set.
Rank outsiders — Fabian Coulthard and Jonathon Webb
This may seem a strange pick for a win in light off the abysmal season Coulthard has had in 2021. But Bathurst is a different place, track, adventure and experience that requires a different sort of car and mindset. Coulthard hasn't won at Bathurst yet but has a solid record, only missing out on a top-10 finish once since 2014. He finished just off the podium in fourth last year and with Webb he has someone who knows the place well, with a win in 2016, and they are one of the more experienced pairings.