All is in readiness for a tight qualifying battle between Ford Performance Racing and TeamVodafone after the final practice session of the weekend at Sandown.
Mark Winterbottom ended Practice 4 on top with a 1:09.75s, which proved just 0.0007s better than Jamie Whincup’s final effort.
Will Davison and Craig Lowndes were also within 0.1s of the benchmark in third and fourth respectively, while the third Ford Performance Racing entry of David Reynolds rounded out the top five.
There was early drama for Whincup, who watched on as co-driver Paul Dumbrell brought out the red flags with a spin at Turn 4.
The car came to rest against the outside tyre barrier, but soon returned to the track with Whincup at the wheel sporting only a minor mark on its left-front corner. The championship leader remained in the car until the chequered flag.
Davison, meanwhile, went off at Turn 1 immediately after setting his best time, appearing to damage a new left-front Dunlop in the process.
Others to test out the Turn 1 grass late in the going included Alexandre Premat and Shane van Gisbergen, while Scott Pye did well to escape the Turn 9 gravel after a mistake of his own.
Filling sixth through 10th in the final order were Lee Holdsworth, James Moffat, Garth Tander, Tim Slade and Jason Bright. Two quick laps mid-session had seen Bright sit atop the leader board for 20 minutes before the late flurry of fast times.
The sister Brad Jones Racing entry of Fabian Coulthard/David Besnard made a successful return to the circuit after its overnight rebuild. Both drivers turned laps in the car, which ended up 14th after briefly topping the order in the early going.
The circuit remained dry throughout the session despite threatening skies and a prediction of patchy drizzle in Melbourne this morning.
A 20 minute qualifying session is scheduled to kick-off at 1140 before the co-driver qualifying race at 1445 and the main driver qualifying race at 1638.
See below for the full Practice 4 result
|1||M.Winterbottom/S.Richards||Ford Falcon FG||1:09.7477|
|2||J.Whincup/P.Dumbrell||Holden Commodore VE2||1:09.7484||0:00.0007|
|3||W.Davison/J.McIntyre||Ford Falcon FG||1:09.8031||0:00.0554|
|4||C.Lowndes/W.Luff||Holden Commodore VE2||1:09.8341||0:00.0864|
|5||D.Reynolds/D.Canto||Ford Falcon FG||1:09.9357||0:00.1880|
|6||L.Holdsworth/C.Baird||Ford Falcon FG||1:10.0749||0:00.3272|
|7||J.Moffat/A.Davison||Ford Falcon FG||1:10.0969||0:00.3492|
|8||G.Tander/N.Percat||Holden Commodore VE2||1:10.1504||0:00.4027|
|9||T.Slade/A.Thompson||Ford Falcon FG||1:10.1783||0:00.4306|
|10||J.Bright/A.Jones||Holden Commodore VE2||1:10.2053||0:00.4576|
|11||A.Premat/J.Perkins||Holden Commodore VE2||1:10.2116||0:00.4639|
|12||S.Owen/P.Morris||Ford Falcon FG||1:10.2230||0:00.4753|
|13||R.Ingall/C.Klien||Holden Commodore VE2||1:10.2248||0:00.4771|
|14||F.Coulthard/D.Besnard||Holden Commodore VE2||1:10.2508||0:00.5031|
|15||M.Caruso/G.Ritter||Holden Commodore VE2||1:10.2538||0:00.5061|
|16||D.Fiore/M.Halliday||Ford Falcon FG||1:10.3157||0:00.5680|
|17||R.Kelly/D.Russell||Holden Commodore VE2||1:10.3421||0:00.5944|
|18||J.Courtney/C.McConville||Holden Commodore VE2||1:10.3646||0:00.6169|
|19||T.D’Alberto/D.Wood||Ford Falcon FG||1:10.4000||0:00.6523|
|20||T.Kelly/T.Blanchard||Holden Commodore VE2||1:10.4903||0:00.7426|
|21||S.Van Gisbergen/L.Youlden||Ford Falcon FG||1:10.5383||0:00.7906|
|22||M.Patrizi/J.Reid||Holden Commodore VE2||1:10.6044||0:00.8567|
|23||D.Wall/C.Pither||Holden Commodore VE2||1:10.7190||0:00.9713|
|24||K.Reindler/D.Gaunt||Holden Commodore VE2||1:10.8235||0:01.0758|
|25||G.Murphy/O.Kelly||Holden Commodore VE2||1:11.0882||0:01.3405|
|26||Jonathon Webb||Holden Commodore VE2||1:11.2605||0:01.5128|
|27||T.Douglas/S.Pye||Holden Commodore VE2||1:11.2844||0:01.5367|
|28||S.Johnson/A.Simonsen||Ford Falcon FG||1:11.4178||0:01.6701|
See below for Speedcafe.com’s Sandown 500 Race Guide