Richards tops first co-driver practice

Steven Richards. pic @supercars via twitter

Steven Richards. pic @supercars via twitter

Reigning Bathurst winner Steven Richards edged DJR Team Penske’s Tony D’Alberto to the fastest time in the first of the day’s two co-driver practice sessions at Sandown.

The co-drivers are doing the bulk of the running today with two 30 minute sessions dedicated to the part-timers.

D’Alberto led much of the session before Richards clocked his 1:09.74s best with less than two minutes remaining.

Richards said he had been concentrating on finding a race balance that looks after the Dunlop soft tyre, which is being used at the Sandown 500 for the first time.

“The second set of tyres were quite decent and the car feels good,” said Richards.

“We’re just trying to get our eye in and do some longer running with more of a race car.

“There’s no question that tyre life is going to be an issue on the weekend so we’re focussing on that.”

D’Alberto had been the first into the 1:09s at the halfway mark but was unable to improve from there.

“We had a problem on one of our runs where we tried something and something was wrong with the car,” he said.

“So we lost a little bit of time and just got jumped at the end. I was at the top for most of the session but just got done.”

Warren Luff put Garth Tander’s Holden Racing Team Commodore third ahead of Dean Canto, who dragged Mark Winterbottom’s Ford through the gravel at Turn 9 in the closing stages.

Jonathon Webb had an early off at Turn 1 before clocking fifth fastest in the Tekno Holden, while Russell Ingall completed the top six aboard Rick Kelly’s Sengled Nissan.

Volvo’s James Golding had an early near miss with the Turn 4 exit wall on the way to ninth, one place behind team-mate David Wall.

Fellow rookies Matt Campbell, Richie Stanaway and Chris van der Drift were 20th, 24th and 26th respectively.

One second covered the top 25 drivers, while van der Drift – who enjoyed just a single test day following a late deal with Erebus – was a further second away from the pace.

The session included a single red flag called with four minutes remaining after Ash Walsh’s Freightliner Holden stopped at Turn 10 with suspected electrical issues.

Walsh was able to return back to the pits, ending the session 10th.

The second co-driver session completes the day’s Supercars practice action from 1635 local time.

Result: Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Wilson Security Sandown 500 Practice 2 (Co Drivers)

1 TeamVortex Steven Richards Holden Commodore VF 1:09.74
2 DJR Team Penske Tony D’Alberto Ford Falcon FG/X 1:09.84 00.09
3 Holden Racing Team Warren Luff Holden Commodore VF 1:09.84 00.10
4 The Bottle-O Racing Team Dean Canto Ford Falcon FG/X 1:09.90 00.16
5 Team Darrell Lea STIX Jonathon Webb Holden Commodore VF 1:09.90 00.16
6 Sengled Motorsport Russell Ingall Nissan Altima 1:09.91 00.17
7 Supercheap Auto Racing Steve Owen Ford Falcon FG/X 1:09.96 00.21
8 Wilson Security Racing GRM David Wall Volvo S60 1:09.99 00.25
9 Wilson Security Racing GRM James Golding Volvo S60 1:09.99 00.25
10 Freightliner Racing Ashley Walsh Holden Commodore VF 1:10.00 00.26
11 DJR Team Penske Luke Youlden Ford Falcon FG/X 1:10.02 00.27
12 Red Bull Racing Australia Alexandre Premat Holden Commodore VF 1:10.03 00.29
13 Nissan Motorsport Dean Fiore Nissan Altima 1:10.05 00.31
14 Holden Racing Team Jack Perkins Holden Commodore VF 1:10.21 00.47
15 Team Cooldrive Macauley Jones Holden Commodore VF 1:10.23 00.48
16 Plus Fitness Racing Aaren Russell Holden Commodore VF 1:10.26 00.52
17 Team BOC Andrew Jones Holden Commodore VF 1:10.33 00.59
18 Repair Management Aust Racing Cameron McConville Holden Commodore VF 1:10.35 00.61
19 Preston Hire Racing Karl Reindler Holden Commodore VF 1:10.37 00.63
20 carsales Racing Matthew Campbell Nissan Altima 1:10.46 00.72
21 Red Bull Racing Australia Paul Dumbrell Holden Commodore VF 1:10.49 00.75
22 Monster Energy Racing Jack Le Brocq Ford Falcon FG/X 1:10.50 00.75
23 GB Galvanizing Racing David Russell Nissan Altima 1:10.85 01.11
24 Super Black Racing Richie Stanaway Ford Falcon FG/X 1:10.87 01.13
25 Erebus Motorsport Penrite Craig Baird Holden Commodore VF 1:10.89 01.15
26 Plus Fitness Racing Chris van der Drift Holden Commodore VF 1:11.92 02.18

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