Scott McLaughlin set aside a troubled week for Garry Rogers Motorsport by topping opening V8 Supercars practice aboard his Volvo at Barbagallo.
Just two days after Volvo’s shock announcement that it will withdraw at season’s end, McLaughlin pipped Prodrive’s Chaz Mostert to the quickest time in Practice 1.
Barbagallo, the scene of Volvo’s first V8 Supercars Championship race win in 2014, provided mixed conditions for the opening 60 minute session.
Persistent morning drizzle saw the field start the session on wet tyres, before a developing dry line allowed a move to slicks within the opening 15 minutes.
A multitude of drivers traded the quickest time as the track conditions gradually improved, before Mark Winterbottom went 0.5s clear at the top of the order with 25 minutes remaining.
Winterbottom’s 56.65s stood until team-mate Mostert went 0.13s faster with three minutes on the clock.
McLaughlin, however, saved his best until last, recording a 56.42s to bring some much needed smiles to the GRM garage.
“The car feels nice, but there’s a long way to go yet,” said McLaughlin.
“We put our second set of tyres on just to get a feel in case it rains again (this afternoon).
“Balance wise I’m happy, but it’s been a tough week that’s for sure.”
A similarly late effort from Tim Slade put his Brad Jones Racing Holden third after struggling for pace on his earlier set of slicks.
“I didn’t get too flustered or worried about how far we were off the pace because traditionally the BJR cars are quite strong here,” he said.
“Obviously the time was there on those tyres, but we only did one run on them so we don’t know how well they’ll hang on.”
Winterbottom ended up fourth ahead of Fabian Coulthard, Jason Bright, Shane van Gisbergen, Jamie Whincup, Scott Pye and Cameron Waters.
The combination of a dry line and wet verges saw several taste the circuit’s famed sand traps during the session.
David Reynolds was the only one to cause a red flag, beaching his Erebus Holden at Turn 6 after just eight minutes.
“It was all my fault, I was trying to be a hero… it’s probably not an ideal scenario,” he quipped as the team cleaned the dirt from his Holden.
DJR Team Penske, Team 18 and Nissan Motorsport were the only teams to run co-drivers in the session, with BJR electing against installing Andrew and Macauley Jones due to the tricky conditions.
Penske co-drivers Luke Youlden and Tony D’Alberto were both among the front-runners during the early going before handing over to Coulthard and Pye respectively.
“I think Phil (Keed, engineer) gave me a good set of tyres for a change,” smiled Youlden.
The day’s second 60 minute session will kick-off at 1440 local time.
Result: V8 Supercars Perth Super Sprint Practice 1
|1||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Scott McLaughlin||Volvo S60||0:56.4211*S|
|2||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||0:56.5187 S||00.0976|
|3||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore VF||0:56.6179 S||00.1968|
|4||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||0:56.6475 S||00.2264|
|5||DJR Team Penske||F.Coulthard/L.Youlden||Ford Falcon FG/X||0:56.7167 S||00.2956|
|6||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore VF||0:56.7717 S||00.3506|
|7||Red Bull Racing Australia||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore VF||0:56.8085 S||00.3874|
|8||Red Bull Racing Australia||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||0:56.8728 S||00.4517|
|9||DJR Team Penske||S.Pye/T.D’Alberto||Ford Falcon FG/X||0:56.8900 S||00.4689|
|10||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||0:56.9397 S||00.5186|
|11||Team Darrell Lea STIX||Will Davison||Holden Commodore VF||0:56.9558 S||00.5347|
|12||Nissan Motorsport||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||0:56.9788 S||00.5577|
|13||TeamVortex||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||0:57.0103 S||00.5892|
|14||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VF||0:57.0638 S||00.6427|
|15||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF||0:57.0677 S||00.6466|
|16||carsales Racing||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima||0:57.0684 S||00.6473|
|17||Preston Hire Racing||L.Holdsworth/K.Reindler||Holden Commodore VF||0:57.0754 S||00.6543|
|18||Erebus Motorsport Penrite||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore VF||0:57.1345 S||00.7134|
|19||Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Moffat||Volvo S60||0:57.2175 S||00.7964|
|20||GB Galvanizing Racing||D.Wood/D.Russell||Nissan Altima||0:57.2728 S||00.8517|
|21||Nissan Motorsport||M.Caruso/D.Fiore||Nissan Altima||0:57.2729 S||00.8518|
|22||ABRO/Repair Management Australia||Andre Heimgartner||Holden Commodore VF||0:57.3360 S||00.9149|
|23||Super Black Racing||Chris Pither||Ford Falcon FG/X||0:57.3784 S||00.9573|
|24||Plus Fitness Racing||Aaren Russell||Holden Commodore VF||0:57.9294 S||01.5083|
|25||Team Cooldrive||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore VF||0:58.0456 S||01.6245|
|26||ABRO/Repair Management Australia||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore VF||0:58.0701 H||01.6490|