Whincup sets hot pace in first Bathurst practice

Thursday 6th October, 2016 - 12:08pm

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Jamie Whincup

Jamie Whincup

Jamie Whincup set the pace in opening practice at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, despite bringing out the red flags with an early spin.

The Red Bull ace made an uncharacteristic mistake just prior to halfway in the 60 minute session, locking his rear brakes into Murray’s Corner and spinning into the gravel.

Extracted under red flags, Whincup continued his practice program before shooting to the top of the order with 2:05.95s just two minutes from the chequered flag.

The time was 0.4s quicker than the quickest achieved in Practice 1 last year.

“The track feels pretty clean, it hasn’t deteriorated too much from last year and the car was there or thereabouts,” said Whincup.

“Obviously everyone will go quicker when they put some tyres on and the track rubbers up a bit more.”

Fabian Coulthard ended up 0.56s adrift in second after briefly moving to the top prior to Whincup’s effort.

Brad Jones Racing’s Tim Slade also improved late to move into third ahead of the Scott McLaughlin/David Wall Volvo.

Whincup caused the session's only red flag

Whincup caused the session’s only red flag

McLaughlin had been fastest before handing over the #33 Volvo to his co-driver for the final minutes.

“It’s always good to have a nice car out of the truck,” smiled McLaughlin.

“It’s still not 100 percent but we’ll work away on it.”

Nick Percat, Jason Bright, Garth Tander, Michael Caruso, Mark Winterbottom and Shane van Gisbergen completed the top 10.

Scott Pye endured the session’s wildest moment with a high-speed spin through McPhillamy Park at the 25 minute mark.

The #17 DJR Team Penske Ford speared backwards through the gravel before bouncing off the tyre wall, leaving Pye to cruise back to the pits with cosmetic damage that ruled him out of the remainder of the session.

“I came across the crest into McPhillamy and just lost the rear,” explained Pye.

“If you go into the gravel sideways it slows you down but I hit the wall pretty hard.

“Fortunately we’ve gotten away with it, but there’s plenty of damage.”

Pye's Falcon collects the barriers

Pye’s Falcon collects the barriers

All three Triple Eight Holdens also tasted the scenery, with Craig Lowndes and van Gisbergen surfing through the gravel at The Chase in separate incidents.

Lowndes, the defending race winner, ended the session down in 23rd place.

James Courtney survived a small early scare upon his return to Bathurst after missing the race with injury last year.

The #22 Holden Racing Team Commodore made minor contact with the right-side concrete on the entry to The Dipper before pitting and handing over to co-driver Perkins.

“It was just the tiniest little kiss,” said Courtney.

“I’m just finding the limits… it’s a couple of years since I’ve been around here so I’m a bit rusty.

“It’s one of those places that is a bit daunting initially with the weight of the car and the speed across the top of the hill.

“But I’m not going to lie. It was pretty hairy there for the first couple of laps.”

Driveline vibrations meanwhile caused major headaches at Nissan Motorsport and Prodrive Racing Australia.

Courtney clipped the wall on the way down the hill

Courtney clipped the wall on the way down the hill

It took more than 45 minutes for Rick Kelly to complete his first flying lap after his crew was forced into replacing the tailshaft in the #15 Altima.

“Rick went out and said ‘if I keep driving this thing we’re not going to have anything left’,” quipped co-driver Russell Ingall of the extent of the vibration.

Chaz Mostert completed three flying laps before pitting the #55 Supercheap Ford with a similar issue, spending the remainder of the session in the garage.

A dedicated practice session for the co-drivers will get underway at 1305.

Result: Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 Practice 1  

1 Red Bull Racing Australia Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore VF 2:05.95
2 DJR Team Penske Fabian Coulthard Ford Falcon FG/X 2:06.51 00.56
3 Freightliner Racing Tim Slade Holden Commodore VF 2:06.57 00.62
4 Wilson Security Racing GRM S.McLaughlin/D.Wall Volvo S60 2:06.72 00.77
5 Clipsal 500 Adelaide Racing Nick Percat Holden Commodore VF 2:06.76 00.81
6 Team BOC Jason Bright Holden Commodore VF 2:06.86 00.91
7 Holden Racing Team G.Tander/W.Luff Holden Commodore VF 2:06.92 00.97
8 Nissan Motorsport Michael Caruso Nissan Altima 2:06.92 00.97
9 The Bottle-O Racing Team M.Winterbottom/D.Canto Ford Falcon FG/X 2:06.94 00.99
10 Red Bull Racing Australia Shane Van Gisbergen Holden Commodore VF 2:07.27 01.32
11 Holden Racing Team J.Courtney/J.Perkins Holden Commodore VF 2:07.35 01.40
12 Monster Energy Racing Cameron Waters Ford Falcon FG/X 2:07.48 01.53
13 Super Black Racing C.Pither/R.Stanaway Ford Falcon FG/X 2:07.55 01.60
14 Sengled Racing Rick Kelly Nissan Altima 2:07.58 01.63
15 Wilson Security Racing GRM James Moffat Volvo S60 2:07.71 01.76
16 Erebus Motorsport Penrite David Reynolds Holden Commodore VF 2:07.73 01.78
17 Team Darrell Lea STIX Will Davison Holden Commodore VF 2:07.90 01.95
18 Plus Fitness Racing Andre Heimgartner Holden Commodore VF 2:08.08 02.13
19 carsales Racing Todd Kelly Nissan Altima 2:08.16 02.21
20 Preston Hire Racing L.Holdsworth/K.Reindler Holden Commodore VF 2:08.19 02.24
21 GB Galvanizing Racing Dale Wood Nissan Altima 2:08.33 02.38
22 Team Cooldrive Tim Blanchard Holden Commodore VF 2:08.56 02.61
23 TeamVortex Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore VF 2:08.72 02.77
24 Supercheap Auto Racing Chaz Mostert Ford Falcon FG/X 2:09.06 03.11
25 DJR Team Penske Scott Pye Ford Falcon FG/X 2:09.33 03.38
26 Harvey Norman Supergirls Simona De Silvestro Nissan Altima 2:09.67 03.72
27 Erebus Motorsport C.van der Drift/S.Davies Holden Commodore VF 2:11.39 05.44