Walkinshaw Racing’s Tim Slade proved the fastest man as the V8 Supercars kicked off the serious track action with Practice 1 at Albert Park.
A 1:57.35s effort saw Slade knock early pace-setter Michael Caruso from the top of the order by just 0.07s with 10 of the session’s 30 minutes remaining.
Neither driver improved in their third and final runs, ensuring the former Erebus driver topped a session for the second time this year.
Volvo’s Scott McLaughlin moved to third in the closing minutes, while Nick Perat, Lee Holdsworth and Jason Bright rounded out the top six.
Bright had christened his brand new Brad Jones Racing Holden chassis with an excursion through the Turn 13 gravel trap in the early minutes.
Although only soft tyres will be used for the races, a mix of pre-marked softs and hards ensured a jumbled order.
Those down the pack included Fabian Coulthard, who endured multiple offs on the way to 17th, and Craig Lowndes, who was 20th after spending most of the session on hard compound rubber.
Slade was positive but well aware of the tyre implications following the session.
“It’s promising but it’s only practice and everyone is on different quality tyres,” he said.
“We know our tyres were relatively good and it’s a very tyre dependent circuit, so when you’re on good tyres you’ll be near the front.
“We’ll wait and see what happens in qualifying.”
Mark Winterbottom was the fastest Ford in eighth after a brief run on soft tyres at the end of the session.
Team-mate Chaz Mostert, who is in Ford Performance Racing’s spare car this weekend following his crash in Adelaide, rounded out the field having stuck with the harder rubber.
A second 30 minute practice will be held prior to qualifying.
See below for the full Practice 1 result
|1||Supercheap Auto Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore VF||01:57.35|
|2||Norton Hornets||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||01:57.42||00:00.07|
|3||Valvoline Racing GRM||Scott McLaughlin||Volvo S60||01:57.57||00:00.22|
|4||Walkinshaw Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore VF||01:58.00||00:00.65|
|5||Erebus Motorsport V8||Lee Holdsworth||Mercedes E63 AMG||01:58.11||00:00.76|
|6||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore VF||01:58.14||00:00.79|
|7||Red Bull Racing Australia||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||01:58.47||00:01.12|
|8||Pepsi Max Crew||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG||01:58.48||00:01.13|
|9||Norton Hornets||James Moffat||Nissan Altima||01:58.62||00:01.27|
|10||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima||01:58.62||00:01.27|
|11||Erebus Motorsport V8||Will Davison||Mercedes E63 AMG||01:58.63||00:01.28|
|12||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VF||01:58.86||00:01.51|
|13||Jeld-wen||Jack Perkins||Ford Falcon FG||01:58.94||00:01.59|
|14||Valvoline Racing GRM||Robert Dahlgren||Volvo S60||01:59.20||00:01.85|
|15||Wilson Security Racing||Scott Pye||Ford Falcon FG||01:59.26||00:01.91|
|16||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||01:59.30||00:01.95|
|17||Lockwood Racing||Fabian Coulthard||Holden Commodore VF||01:59.37||00:02.02|
|18||Team ADVAM / GB||Dale Wood||Holden Commodore VF||01:59.57||00:02.22|
|19||Repair Management Aust Racing||Russell Ingall||Holden Commodore VF||01:59.66||00:02.31|
|20||Red Bull Racing Australia||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||01:59.79||00:02.44|
|21||Team TEKNO VIP Petfoods||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore VF||01:59.80||00:02.45|
|22||The Bottle-O Racing Team||David Reynolds||Ford Falcon FG||02:00.04||00:02.69|
|23||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF||02:00.32||00:02.97|
|24||Wilson Security Racing||David Wall||Ford Falcon FG||02:00.58||00:03.23|
|25||Pepsi Max Crew||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG||02:00.87||00:03.52|