Whincup: Practice not an indication of true pecking order

Jamie Whincup aboard the #1 TeamVodafone Commodore

Jamie Whincup aboard the #1 TeamVodafone Commodore

Jamie Whincup has warned that today’s practice results are not a true indication of the relative pace of the field at the Phillip Island 300.

Whincup set the fastest time of the two full-field sessions, which were both punctuated by red flag periods.

Tyre condition ensured that Whincup’s best of 1:32.29s would remain slower than the time set by co-driver Paul Dumbrell earlier in the day.

The opening two sessions allowed cars to run tyres from the teams’ test banks, while the pre-marked tyres that Whincup and the majority of the other full-time drivers ran on consisted of the best rubber left over from previous events.

The inability to use tyres from Albert Park (which were impounded and destroyed following the meeting) and Hamilton (which are yet to return from New Zealand) ensured that the tyre banks were particularly slim, while the presence of a fifth practice session tomorrow morning deterred teams from using one of their six new sets allocated for the weekend.

“We’re very limited on tyres,” said Whincup after practice.

“Most of the co-drivers had new tyres from our test banks but for us we were just on old ones that had been torn up in Perth or Tassie.

“It’s not a true indication of the true grid at this stage. When we all throw new greens on tomorrow we’ll really see who’s quick and who’s not.”

Whincup endured a scare during the third session when he slid off the road on oil dropped by Taz Douglas’ iSelect Commodore.

While the track appeared dirty after the 10 minute red flag period, Whincup does not believe it affected lap times for the remainder of the day.

“There was a massive amount of oil down – there was 20 litres of oil in the space of 100 metres,” recalled Whincup.

“I speared off and got straight on the radio to tell Craig (Lowndes, team-mate) to slow down. He clearly did a better job than me because he got around it!

“We had a little bit of (cement) dust down (afterward) but I think it was just the tyres wearing out (that prevented faster times).”

Whincup also added that it’s “just about time” to resurface the 4.45km venue as the bitumen has deteriorated in some areas since last year.

The circuit is set to receive a full resurface at the end of the 2012 racing season.

CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s Practice 0 report and result

CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s Practice 1 report and result

CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s Practice 2 report and result

CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s Practice 3 report and result

Click below to read Speedcafe.com’s Phillip Island 300 Race Guide.

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