Craig Lowndes has made a strong start to his bid for a sixth Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 victory by topping the opening practice session.
The Red Bull Holden lapped the sun-bathed venue in a best of 2:10.10s with eight of the 50 minutes remaining.
The session was devoid of stoppages, with teams quickly setting about the business of tuning their new-for-2013 Car of the Future vehicles to the mountain circuit.
Mark Winterbottom ended up with the second fastest time ahead of Jason Bright, David Reynolds and Jamie Whincup.
In an encouraging sign for Nissan and Erebus, both teams put a car in the top 10 for the session.
James Moffat led the Altimas in seventh despite a mid-session rub with a wall, while Slade put his E63 in ninth.
Lowndes didn’t figure at the top of the order until the final 15 minutes, at which point he was already on a second set of his pre-marked tyres.
“Our first set weren’t as good as what we thought they’d be, so we opted to go for our second set earlier than what we’d planned,” he told Speedcafe.com.
“In the end it turned out to be a great benefit because we got our balance back. We were able to tune the car and it gave me the feedback we were looking for.”
Following concerns that extended periods on the rev limiters, particularly at the end of Conrod, V8 Supercars monitored the session to see if a gear ratio change will be necessary.
“I didn’t hit the limiter at all,” reported Lowndes.
“We’ve got a very strong cross wind at the moment the car was buffeted around quite a lot. We’ve got five lights (shift lights on the dash) and I got three lights going into the Chase on my best lap.
“If anyone has been on the limiter then good luck…”
Andy Priaulx spent the entire session in the Xbox wildcard entry, making the most of a healthy tyre bank to end the session 12th.
A total of 11 co-drivers jumped aboard their respective cars for the final minutes of the session ahead of the co-driver only Practice 2.
The Practice 1 pace proved considerably slower than that of the opening session last year, where the benchmark had been a 2:08.4s.
See below for the full session result
|1||Red Bull Racing Australia||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||02:10.10|
|2||Pepsi Max Crew FPR Ford||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG||02:10.28||00:00.17|
|3||Team BOC||J.Bright/A.Jones||Holden Commodore VF||02:10.36||00:00.25|
|4||The Bottle-O FPR Ford||David Reynolds||Ford Falcon FG||02:10.38||00:00.28|
|5||Red Bull Racing Australia||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||02:10.56||00:00.46|
|6||Pepsi Max Crew FPR Ford||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG||02:10.63||00:00.53|
|7||Norton Hornets||James Moffat||Nissan Altima||02:10.69||00:00.59|
|8||Dodo Insurance Racing||D.Fiore/M.Halliday||Holden Commodore VF||02:10.69||00:00.59|
|9||Heavy Haulage Australia Racing||T.Slade/A.Thompson||Mercedes E63 AMG||02:10.72||00:00.61|
|10||Fujitsu Racing GRM||S.McLaughlin/J.Perkins||Holden Commodore VF||02:10.72||00:00.62|
|11||Irwin Racing||L.Holdsworth/C.Baird||Mercedes E63 AMG||02:10.86||00:00.76|
|12||XBOX ONE Racing||Andy Priaulx||Holden Commodore VF||02:10.97||00:00.87|
|13||TEKNO team VIP Petfoods||S.Van Gisbergen/Bleekemolen||Holden Commodore VF||02:11.00||00:00.90|
|14||Wilson Security Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG||02:11.10||00:01.00|
|15||Team HIFLEX||Tony D’Alberto||Holden Commodore VF||02:11.12||00:01.02|
|16||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF||02:11.14||00:01.04|
|17||Fujitsu Racing GRM||A.Premat/G.Ritter||Holden Commodore VF||02:11.24||00:01.14|
|18||Lockwood Racing||Fabian Coulthard||Holden Commodore VF||02:11.43||00:01.33|
|19||Norton Hornets||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||02:11.46||00:01.36|
|20||Jeld-wen FPR Ford||Alex Davison||Ford Falcon FG||02:11.63||00:01.53|
|21||Sargent Security Racing||S.Pye/P.Morris||Holden Commodore VF||02:11.64||00:01.53|
|22||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VF||02:11.67||00:01.57|
|23||TEKNO team Darrell Lea||J.Webb/M.Lieb||Holden Commodore VF||02:11.81||00:01.70|
|24||Wilson Security Racing||Tim Blanchard||Ford Falcon FG||02:11.94||00:01.84|
|25||Jack Daniel’s Racing||T.Kelly/D.Russell||Nissan Altima||02:12.09||00:01.98|
|26||Supercheap Auto Racing||R.Ingall/R.Briscoe||Holden Commodore VF||02:12.47||00:02.37|
|27||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||02:12.51||00:02.41|
|28||Wilson Security Racing||David Wall||Holden Commodore VF||02:12.59||00:02.48|
|29||SP Tools Racing||Maro Engel||Mercedes E63 AMG||02:12.72||00:02.62|