Craig Lowndes’ affinity with Phillip Island continued as the veteran set the fastest time in opening practice for the WD-40 Super Sprint.
The 41-year-old, who has 11 previous wins at the Victorian venue, was among the front-runners from the outset of the 60 minute session.
Emerging from the pits in the closing stages with a second set of pre-marked tyres, the Caltex Holden’s 1:31.73s proved 0.55s quicker than previous fast man Jamie Whincup.
Garth Tander split the two Triple Eight entries as the chequered flag fell, but could barely scrape within 0.5s of the flying Lowndes.
“The car went out of the blocks about 80 percent right,” said Lowndes afterwards.
“We made small adjustments and the car responded to its second set of used tyres.
“You never know what everyone else has done but the car is working well.”
Tander was meanwhile encouraged by further running with the Holden Racing Team’s front-end upgrades that were shelved partway through the Symmons Plains event.
“We still need to find a balance with the car but we found an upper limit with some of the changes,” said Tander.
“There’s not a lot of grip out there, you can tell by some of the lines people are using that they’re struggling.
“It’s old school Phillip Island, so maybe that’s why we (together with fellow veteran Lowndes) are up the top.”
Fabian Coulthard was the fastest Ford in fourth ahead of Tim Slade, Shane van Gisbergen, Rick Kelly and Scott McLaughlin.
Triple Eight trio Lowndes, Whincup and Van Gisbergen had traded the top spot throughout the opening 30 minutes, before Kelly broke up the domination just past halfway.
Van Gisbergen returned to the top with little over 10 minutes remaining, before Coulthard, Whincup and eventually Lowndes took over the front-running.
The session ran green for its duration, with a minor off for Whincup at Turn 2 the only notable off-track excursion.
Co-drivers Tony D’Alberto, Luke Youlden, Dean Fiore and Macauley Jones all cut laps in the early stages as they prepare for duties in the Pirtek Enduro Cup.
A second 60 minute session will complete the day’s running later this afternoon.
Result: V8 Supercars WD-40 Phillip Island Super Sprint Practice 1
|1||TeamVortex||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||1:31.7255*H|
|2||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF||1:32.2177 H||00.4922|
|3||Red Bull Racing Australia||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||1:32.2778 H||00.5523|
|4||DJR Team Penske||F.Coulthard/L.Youlden||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:32.3482 H||00.6227|
|5||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore VF||1:32.4422 H||00.7167|
|6||Red Bull Racing Australia||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore VF||1:32.4855 H||00.7600|
|7||Sengled Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:32.5299 H||00.8044|
|8||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Scott McLaughlin||Volvo S60||1:32.5515 H||00.8260|
|9||Preston Hire Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore VF||1:32.5864 H||00.8609|
|10||carsales Racing||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:32.6030 H||00.8775|
|11||DJR Team Penske||S.Pye/T.D’Alberto||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:32.6155 H||00.8900|
|12||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:32.6975 H||00.9720|
|13||Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Moffat||Volvo S60||1:32.7448 H||01.0193|
|14||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:32.7590 H||01.0335|
|15||Team GB Galvanizing||Dale Wood||Nissan Altima||1:32.8010 H||01.0755|
|16||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VF||1:32.8039 H||01.0784|
|17||Super Black Racing||Chris Pither||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:32.9089 H||01.1834|
|18||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:32.9509 H||01.2254|
|19||Team Darrell Lea STIX||Will Davison||Holden Commodore VF||1:32.9895 H||01.2640|
|20||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore VF||1:33.0588 H||01.3333|
|21||Nissan Motorsport||M.Caruso/D.Fiore||Nissan Altima||1:33.1300 H||01.4045|
|22||Team Cooldrive||T.Blanchard/M.Jones||Holden Commodore VF||1:33.1739 H||01.4484|
|23||ABRO/Repair Management Australia||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore VF||1:33.2899 H||01.5644|
|24||Erebus Motorsport Penrite||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore VF||1:33.3983 H||01.6728|
|25||ABRO/Repair Management Australia||Andre Heimgartner||Holden Commodore VF||1:33.5356 H||01.8101|
|26||Plus Fitness Racing||Aaren Russell||Holden Commodore VF||1:34.9188 H||03.1933|