Jamie Whincup secured a sweep of the Thursday sessions for the #88 Red Bull Holden by edging out DJR Team Penske’s Fabian Coulthard in Practice 3 at Mount Panorama.
Whincup improved his morning best of 2:05.95s to a 2:05.29s in the late afternoon hit-out, knocking Coulthard from the top spot by 0.07s.
The six-time champion’s time was 0.18s clear of the marker that Coulthard set to top Thursday practice last year aboard the #14 Brad Jones Racing Holden.
“It’s a bit early to be going quick but we have a good car,” said Whincup.
“The car is quite balanced but the track is forever evolving so we’ve got to keep reacting.
“We put new tyres on just to get a gauge on what the car was doing ahead of tomorrow.”
Coulthard also stressed that there’s more to come from the #12 DJR Team Penske Ford.
“We stuck to the plan because it’s quite easy to get lost here chasing the track,” said Coulthard.
“We’re still not happy, but it’s not a bad position to be in.”
Prodrive’s Chaz Mostert jumped 14 places with his final lap to be third ahead of Scott McLaughlin’s Volvo.
The result proved a strong turnaround for Mostert, whose day began with a vibration in Practice 1, while McLaughlin was less pleased with his Volvo.
“It’s like riding a bucking bronco, it’s crazy,” said McLaughlin.
“It’s all over the place but we’ll fix it up overnight hopefully and get it done tomorrow.”
Like Mostert, Jason Bright also improved late, leaping 15 spots to end up fifth on a promising opening day for Brad Jones Racing.
The top 10 was completed by Garth Tander, Tim Slade, Will Davison, Shane van Gisbergen and James Courtney.
Van Gisbergen’s session included a 15 minute stint in the garage while the Red Bull team attended to a brake issue on the #97 Holden.
Just 26 cars took part in the session, with Garry Rogers Motorsport unable to repair the #34 Volvo that James Golding crashed in Practice 2 in time to return to cut any laps.
The car will return to the track with Golding at the wheel for Practice 4 at 0855 local time tomorrow.
Result: Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 Practice 3
|1||Red Bull Racing Australia||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||2:05.29|
|2||DJR Team Penske||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||2:05.36||00.0734|
|3||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||2:05.70||00.4120|
|4||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Scott McLaughlin||Volvo S60||2:05.82||00.5268|
|5||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore VF||2:05.85||00.5562|
|6||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF||2:05.88||00.5926|
|7||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore VF||2:05.91||00.6172|
|8||Team Darrell Lea STIX||W.Davison/J.Webb||Holden Commodore VF||2:05.92||00.6265|
|9||Red Bull Racing Australia||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore VF||2:05.96||00.6675|
|10||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VF||2:06.04||00.7514|
|11||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||2:06.09||00.8045|
|12||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||2:06.30||01.0060|
|13||Erebus Motorsport Penrite||D.Reynolds/C.Baird||Holden Commodore VF||2:06.39||01.0997|
|14||TeamVortex||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||2:06.40||01.1076|
|15||Clipsal 500 Adelaide Racing||N.Percat/C.McConville||Holden Commodore VF||2:06.52||01.2295|
|16||GB Galvanizing Racing||Dale Wood||Nissan Altima||2:06.58||01.2935|
|17||Nissan Motorsport||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||2:06.64||01.3530|
|18||Preston Hire Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore VF||2:06.65||01.3581|
|19||Sengled Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||2:06.83||01.5392|
|20||carsales Racing||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima||2:06.94||01.6478|
|21||Plus Fitness Racing||A.Heimgartner/A.Russell||Holden Commodore VF||2:07.42||02.1273|
|22||Super Black Racing||Chris Pither||Ford Falcon FG/X||2:07.49||02.2042|
|23||DJR Team Penske||S.Pye/T.D’Alberto||Ford Falcon FG/X||2:07.50||02.2099|
|24||Team Cooldrive||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore VF||2:07.51||02.2166|
|25||Erebus Motorsport||Chris van der Drift||Holden Commodore VF||2:08.86||03.5708|
|26||Harvey Norman Supergirls||S.De Silvestro/R.Gracie||Nissan Altima||2:09.18||03.8893|