Just an hour after his impending departure from Erebus Motorsport was officially announced, Tim Slade set the fastest time in Practice 1 at Sandown.
Underlining the team’s hope that the HHA Mercedes can be a force over the remaining events, Slade moved to the top of the order with six of the 40 minutes remaining, clocking a 1:10.06s lap.
Slade immediately handed over to co-driver Andrew Thompson after setting the time, with the former Dunlop Series winner one of many part-timers to step in just prior to the chequered flag.
David Reynolds had been fastest ahead of Slade’s effort.
The Bottle-O Falcon remained second until the end ahead of Craig Lowndes/Warren Luff and the second Mercedes of Lee Holdsworth/Craig Baird.
Jamie Whincup had been among the early pace-setters in his new Red Bull Holden, although fell to 13th by the end of the session as the team chased set-up.
A total of 17 co-drivers took to the track. Among them were Shane van Gisbergen’s Dutch import Jeroen Bleekemolen, whose 10 lap run to end the session yielded a best of 1:12.2s.
Fellow internationally-based drivers Marc Lieb and Ryan Briscoe will have to wait until the co-driver only second practice, scheduled to kick off at 1255 local time, in order to have their first drives of the Jonathon Webb and Russell Ingall Holdens respectively.
See below for the full Practice 1 result
|1||T.Slade/A.Thompson||Mercedes E63 AMG||01:10.05|
|2||D.Reynolds/D.Canto||Ford Falcon FG||01:10.13||00:00.08|
|3||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||01:10.13||00:00.08|
|4||Lee Holdsworth||Mercedes E63 AMG||01:10.15||00:00.10|
|5||M.Winterbottom/S.Richards||Ford Falcon FG||01:10.17||00:00.11|
|6||S.McLaughlin/J.Perkins||Holden Commodore VF||01:10.25||00:00.20|
|7||J.Bright/A.Jones||Holden Commodore VF||01:10.43||00:00.38|
|8||F.Coulthard/L.Youlden||Holden Commodore VF||01:10.44||00:00.38|
|9||A.Premat/G.Ritter||Holden Commodore VF||01:10.44||00:00.39|
|10||Tony D’Alberto||Holden Commodore VF||01:10.45||00:00.39|
|11||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG||01:10.50||00:00.45|
|12||J.Courtney/G.Murphy||Holden Commodore VF||01:10.56||00:00.51|
|13||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||01:10.58||00:00.53|
|14||C.Mostert/D.Wood||Ford Falcon FG||01:10.61||00:00.56|
|15||Russell Ingall||Holden Commodore VF||01:10.63||00:00.58|
|16||G.Tander/N.Percat||Holden Commodore VF||01:10.72||00:00.67|
|17||S.Van Gisbergen/J.Bleekemolen||Holden Commodore VF||01:10.73||00:00.68|
|18||A.Davison/J.McIntyre||Ford Falcon FG||01:10.75||00:00.69|
|19||S.Pye/P.Morris||Holden Commodore VF||01:10.76||00:00.71|
|20||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||01:10.76||00:00.71|
|21||D.Wall/C.Pither||Holden Commodore VF||01:10.80||00:00.75|
|23||T.Blanchard/A.Walsh||Ford Falcon FG||01:10.96||00:00.91|
|24||Jonathon Webb||Holden Commodore VF||01:11.10||00:01.05|
|25||James Moffat||Nissan Altima||01:11.13||00:01.08|
|26||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||01:11.20||00:01.15|
|27||D.Fiore/M.Halliday||Holden Commodore VF||01:11.22||00:01.17|
|28||Maro Engel||Mercedes E63 AMG||01:11.23||00:01.18|