Winterbottom puts Ford on top at Sydney test

Mark Winterbottom set the fastest time in the fourth session of the weekend

Mark Winterbottom set the fastest time in the fourth session of the weekend

Mark Winterbottom ended the final open test session at Sydney Motorsport Park encouraged by progress with his new FG X Falcon after topping the time sheets.

Winterbottom moved into top spot with a 1:29.58s lap in the final five minutes of the session, having spent the bulk of the two hours on the cusp of the top 10.

The Prodrive Racing Australia driver’s effort dislodged previous fast-man James Courtney, while Fabian Coulthard was third quickest.

Winterbottom, who was cautiously optimistic about the gains made with the new model Ford following yesterday’s running, bolted on a used set of pre-marked softs to set the quickest time.

“The guys did a lot of work overnight because yesterday we were struggling a little bit,” Winterbottom told Speedcafe.com.

“This morning felt quite good. Although the tyres get older, you feel like you’re making gains. We’ve had good tyre life and today it started to feel the way we want it to.

“It was a good session and it was good for a first time with a new engineer (Jason Gray) to make such progress over night.

“The tyres we did the time on were softs that had done about 120km. The guys analyse it all but you never really know what the grip will be like until you’re out there turning the wheel.

“We’ll see if the green hard makes a difference,” he added ahead of this afternoon’s Shootout, which will see all cars on new hard tyres.

“Set-up for the Shootout will be a bit of a guess, but we’re not really going for a lap time, it’s just testing.”

Courtney was 0.4s adrift of his fellow native Western Sydneysider this morning, having jumped from the bottom half of the field to first position just after the hour mark,

Coulthard, fastest at last year’s pre-season test, was the only other driver to lap under 90 seconds, being the first man to do so just over twenty minutes into proceedings.

The Brad Jones Racing driver also endured a wild final corner spin late in the piece as he failed to get close to his personal best for the remainder of the session.

Will Davison was fourth and Ash Walsh seventh in an encouraging showing for Erebus Motorsport.

Marcos Ambrose continued to make progress as he re-acclimatises to V8 Supercars, taking the X Box-backed DJR Team Penske Falcon to fifth for the session.

Ambrose was one of only six drivers to record a better lap than they managed during yesterday’s three hit-outs.

David Reynolds was sixth, while Lee Holdsworth, Saturday fast man Todd Kelly, and Garth Tander rounded out the top ten.

Shane van Gisbergen continued to fight his Tekno Autosports Commodore to 17th, Craig Lowndes experienced a spin on his way to 20th, and Jamie Whincup was 23rd.

Todd Kelly’s third session benchmark remains the fastest time of the weekend as warm temperatures again hampered progress, Winterbottom falling 0.05s short of knocking off the Nissan Motorsport driver’s time.

A full-field Shootout will complete the SuperTest from 1400 AEDT.

Result: Session 4, Sydney Motorsport Park SuperTest

1
Ford Pepsi Max Crew
Mark Winterbottom
Ford Falcon FG/X
01:29.58
2
Holden Racing Team
James Courtney
Holden Commodore VF
01:29.93
00:00.35
3
Freightliner Racing
Fabian Coulthard
Holden Commodore VF
01:29.94
00:00.36
4
Erebus Motorsport V8
Will Davison
Mercedes E63 AMG
01:30.10
00:00.52
5
DJR Team Penske
Marcos Ambrose
Ford Falcon FG/X
01:30.16
00:00.58
6
The Bottle-O Racing Team
David Reynolds
Ford Falcon FG
01:30.17
00:00.59
7
Erebus Motorsport V8
Ashley Walsh
Mercedes E63 AMG
01:30.18
00:00.60
8
Walkinshaw Racing
Lee Holdsworth
Holden Commodore VF
01:30.18
00:00.60
9
Nissan Motorsport
Todd Kelly
Nissan Altima
01:30.36
00:00.78
10
Holden Racing Team
Garth Tander
Holden Commodore VF
01:30.38
00:00.80
11
Ford Pepsi Max Crew
Chaz Mostert
Ford Falcon FG/X
01:30.47
00:00.89
12
Wilson Security Racing GRM
Scott McLaughlin
Volvo S60
01:30.58
00:01.00
13
Nissan Motorsport
Rick Kelly
Nissan Altima
01:30.59
00:01.01
14
Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport
Nick Percat
Holden Commodore VF
01:30.67
00:01.09
15
Nissan Motorsport
James Moffat
Nissan Altima
01:30.76
00:01.18
16
Team GB Galvanizing
Dale Wood
Holden Commodore VF
01:30.78
00:01.20
17
Team TEKNO Darrell Lea
Shane Van Gisbergen
Holden Commodore VF
01:30.87
00:01.29
18
Team BOC
Jason Bright
Holden Commodore VF
01:30.95
00:01.37
19
Nissan Motorsport
Michael Caruso
Nissan Altima
01:30.97
00:01.39
20
Red Bull Racing Australia
Craig Lowndes
Holden Commodore VF
01:31.00
00:01.42
21
Supercheap Auto Racing
Tim Slade
Holden Commodore VF
01:31.11
00:01.53
22
Wilson Security Racing GRM
David Wall
Volvo S60
01:31.26
00:01.68
23
Red Bull Racing Australia
Jamie Whincup
Holden Commodore VF
01:31.33
00:01.75
24
Super Black Racing
Andre Heimgartner
Ford Falcon FG
01:31.92
00:02.34
25
Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport
Tim Blanchard
Holden Commodore VF
01:32.42
00:02.84

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