Nissans lead the way in opening NZ practice

Friday 6th November, 2015 - 9:36am

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Michael Caruso's Nissan Altima

Michael Caruso’s Nissan Altima

Nissan duo Michael Caruso and James Moffat set the pace in the first practice session for the ITM 500 Auckland at Pukekohe.

Moffat showed the way for the majority of the 60 minute session, improving an early 1:03.91s to 1:03.85s at the halfway mark.

Team-mate Caruso put in a 1:03.798s with 12 minutes remaining before improving further to a 1:03.723s in the dying minutes.

While the practice order is usually polluted by different quality pre-marked rubber, all cars are on new hards today at the flyaway venue.

Encouraged by the pace, Caruso says the practice result is a good reward for his Nissan crew, which sent its cars to NZ directly from Queensland following the Gold Coast 600 two weeks ago.

“It is nice to be at the top particularly after the Gold Coast where we had a horrid weekend so for the boys to turn around the car after that, they have a done a great job,” he said.

“This track is one of the most underrated circuits we go to. I saw a few people having some offs and to get the most out of these cars you have got to be 110 percent committed.”

Craig Lowndes ended the run third fastest despite visibly struggling for rear grip in his Red Bull Holden.

The veteran endured two high-speed spins through the Turn 5-6 chicane complex, sliding to a stop without damage on both occasions.

“I was just trying to find the brake marker,” he explained.

“Every time you make adjustments it handles and feels differently. Every now and then you push the boundaries and limits and I went over them a couple of times.

“Luckily there is a lot of room there. We got going and we didn’t hurt the car.”

Title rival Mark Winterbottom was fourth ahead of Shane van Gisbergen, who like Lowndes pushed beyond the limit on multiple occasions.

Scott Pye was sixth ahead of Cameron Waters, who enjoyed his first ever V8 Supercars laps at the Kiwi venue aboard the #6 Pepsi Max Ford.

Fabian Coulthard, Scott McLaughlin and David Reynolds completed the top 10, while Jamie Whincup was just 16th after a spin of his own during the early going.

Result: V8 Supercars ITM 500 Auckland Practice 1  

1 Nissan Motorsport Michael Caruso Nissan Altima 1:03.7229*H
2 Nissan Motorsport James Moffat Nissan Altima 1:03.8498 H 00.1269
3 Red Bull Racing Australia Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore VF 1:03.9212 H 00.1983
4 Pepsi Max Crew Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG/X 1:03.9740 H 00.2511
5 Team Darrell Lea STIX Shane Van Gisbergen Holden Commodore VF 1:03.9793 H 00.2564
6 DJR Team Penske Scott Pye Ford Falcon FG/X 1:04.0256 H 00.3027
7 Pepsi Max Crew Cameron Waters Ford Falcon FG/X 1:04.0258 H 00.3029
8 Freightliner Racing Fabian Coulthard Holden Commodore VF 1:04.0407 H 00.3178
9 Wilson Security Racing GRM Scott McLaughlin Volvo S60 1:04.0670 H 00.3441
10 The Bottle-O Racing Team David Reynolds Ford Falcon FG/X 1:04.0770 H 00.3541
11 Erebus Motorsport V8 Will Davison Mercedes E63 AMG 1:04.1105 H 00.3876
12 Walkinshaw Racing Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore VF 1:04.1273 H 00.4044
13 Supercheap Auto Racing Tim Slade Holden Commodore VF 1:04.1701 H 00.4472
14 Nissan Motorsport Rick Kelly Nissan Altima 1:04.2093 H 00.4864
15 Team BOC Jason Bright Holden Commodore VF 1:04.2836 H 00.5607
16 Red Bull Racing Australia Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore VF 1:04.2943 H 00.5714
17 Holden Racing Team James Courtney Holden Commodore VF 1:04.3257 H 00.6028
18 Super Black Racing Andre Heimgartner Ford Falcon FG/X 1:04.3326 H 00.6097
19 Repair Management Aust Racing Nick Percat Holden Commodore VF 1:04.3605 H 00.6376
20 GB Galvanizing Racing Dale Wood Holden Commodore VF 1:04.4447 H 00.7218
21 Nissan Motorsport Todd Kelly Nissan Altima 1:04.5021 H 00.7792
22 Holden Racing Team Garth Tander Holden Commodore VF 1:04.5076 H 00.7847
23 Team Cooldrive Tim Blanchard Holden Commodore VF 1:04.8422 H 01.1193
24 Wilson Security Racing GRM David Wall Volvo S60 1:04.8455 H 01.1226
25 Erebus Motorsport V8 Ashley Walsh Mercedes E63 AMG 1:04.8495 H 01.1266