Caruso tops opening Supercars practice

Tom Howard

Friday 18th August, 2017 - 1:52pm

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Michael Caruso

Michael Caruso put Nissan Motorsport on top in the opening Supercars practice session at the Red Rooster Sydney Super Sprint.

Caruso produced strong pace straight out of the box moving to the top of the times early in the session, which was affected by blustery conditions at the 3.93km Western Sydney venue.

The Nissan Motorsport driver briefly surrendered the position to DJR Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin before Caruso responded with a faster time before recording a 1:29.96s to end up on top.

Caruso was the only driver to dip into the 1:29s bracket during the 45 minute session.

McLaughlin was Caruso’s nearest rival albeit 0.37s shy, while Red Bull’s Jamie Whincup was third.

“There’s still a bit to try and obviously our next session we’ll try to improve, but the wind around here’s crazy, particularly on my very first lap,” said Caruso.

“I came down the (main) straight and I didn’t even get into sixth gear and I said, ‘Is there something wrong with our engine?’ and our engineer said, ‘Nah, mate, there’s a pretty big headwind.’ So, it’s a challenge but it’s one that we need to tackle.

“We might be on top but I’m sure when everybody has a decent crack at it next session we’ll know where we are.”

Tim Slade was fourth fastest in the #14 Brad Jones Racing Commodore ahead of Fabian Coulthard in the sister DJR Team Penske Falcon.

Queensland Raceway winner Chaz Mostert was the top Prodrive driver in sixth ahead of Erebus Motorsport’s David Reynolds.

The top 10 was completed by Cameron Waters (Prodrive), Lee Holdsworth (Preston Hire Racing) and Mobil 1 HSV Racing’s Scott Pye, who was without a set of green practice tyres.

Mark Winterbottom, who is adopting Mostert’s set-up this weekend, was 11th while reigning champion Shane van Gisbrgen could only manage 14th ahead of James Moffat and Simona de Silvestro.

Will Davison’s session came to a premature end when his Lightning McQueen liveried Tekno Autosports Holden developed a steering rack issue.

“Lightning was a bit cranky this morning he hasn’t woken up too well, it has been a rough start for the young fella,” said Davison.

“We have got a problem with the steering rack so we have got to change it.”

The Supercars field will return for second 45 minute practice session from 1530 local time.

Results: Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Red Rooster Sydney Super Sprint Practice 1

1 Nissan Motorsport Michael Caruso Nissan Altima 1:29.9643
2 Shell V-Power Racing Team Scott McLaughlin Ford Falcon FG/X 1:30.3412 00.3769
3 Red Bull Holden Racing Aust Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore VF 1:30.4764 00.5121
4 Freightliner Racing T.Slade/A.Walsh Holden Commodore VF 1:30.4887 00.5244
5 Shell V-Power Racing Team Fabian Coulthard Ford Falcon FG/X 1:30.4968 00.5325
6 Supercheap Auto Racing Chaz Mostert Ford Falcon FG/X 1:30.6024 00.6381
7 Erebus Penrite Racing David Reynolds Holden Commodore VF 1:30.7322 00.7679
8 Monster Energy Racing Cameron Waters Ford Falcon FG/X 1:30.7429 00.7786
9 Preston Hire Racing Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore VF 1:30.8991 00.9348
10 Mobil 1 HSV Racing Scott Pye Holden Commodore VF 1:30.9617 00.9974
11 The Bottle-O Racing Team Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG/X 1:30.9876 01.0233
12 ACDelco Racing N.Percat/M.Jones Holden Commodore VF 1:30.9985 01.0342
13 Team CoolDrive Tim Blanchard Holden Commodore VF 1:31.0141 01.0498
14 Red Bull Holden Racing Aust Shane Van Gisbergen Holden Commodore VF 1:31.0266 01.0623
15 Wilson Security Racing GRM James Moffat Holden Commodore VF 1:31.1411 01.1768
16 Team Harvey Norman Simona De Silvestro Nissan Altima 1:31.1456 01.1813
17 TeamVortex Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore VF 1:31.2292 01.2649
18 Erebus GB Galvanizing Racing Dale Wood Holden Commodore VF 1:31.4179 01.4536
19 Mobil 1 HSV Racing James Courtney Holden Commodore VF 1:31.5082 01.5439
20 Repair Management Aust Racing Alex Rullo Holden Commodore VF 1:31.5594 01.5951
21 MEGA Racing Jason Bright Ford Falcon FG/X 1:31.6062 01.6419
22 Sengled Racing Rick Kelly Nissan Altima 1:31.6138 01.6495
23 Wilson Security Racing GRM Garth Tander Holden Commodore VF 1:31.7533 01.7890
24 carsales Racing Todd Kelly Nissan Altima 1:31.8252 01.8609
25 Repair Management Aust Racing Alex Davison Holden Commodore VF 1:32.2250 02.2607
26 TEKNO Woodstock Racing Will Davison Holden Commodore VF 1:34.2933 04.3290