McLaughlin makes flying start in Sydney heat
Scott McLaughlin made the perfect start to his farewell weekend at Garry Rogers Motorsport as drivers sweated it out in opening practice at the Coates Hire Sydney 500.
The ambient temperature nudged 34 degrees, just two off the predicted maximum, during the first of two 40 minute sessions scheduled for today.
Shane van Gisbergen led the way going into the closing minutes, recording 1:28.11s as he kicked off his bid to secure his maiden Supercars title.
The final seconds saw first James Courtney and then Scott McLaughlin shoot to the top, with the latter rubbing the concrete walls as he threw his Volvo around the circuit.
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“I’m really pumped for this weekend,” beamed McLaughlin.
“I love this track, you’ve got to put it all on the line. It’s a good start for us.”
Courtney ended up second on what is also a significant weekend for his team as it prepares to lose its Holden Racing Team branding in the off-season.
The 2010 champion stressed that cooler conditions forecast for tomorrow means teams will face a tough task translating what they learn during practice.
“Tomorrow the track condition could be 10 degrees cooler which will throw everything we learnt today out,” he said.
“It’s a bit of a gamble how much we do change the car from today to tomorrow but we’ll worry about that when it comes.”
Van Gisbergen ended up fourth after also being edged out by Jamie Whincup, who is the Kiwi’s only remote threat for the title.
Needing just a top five finish tomorrow to seal the title a day early, Van Gisbergen cut a relaxed figure in the Red Bull garage post-session.
“The track is very slippery,” he noted.
“It’s a lot of fun on the soft tyre around here but it’s very clean.
“When the rubber goes down it’ll get quicker and quicker.
“At the moment the car is quite nice, we just need to chase the track now.”
Tim Slade ended up fifth ahead of Craig Lowndes, who damaged the right-side of his Holden when he clouted the Turn 8 tyre wall in the closing stages.
Rick Kelly, Will Davison, Garth Tander and Lee Holdsworth completed the top 10.
Mark Winterbottom managed 12th despite completing just five laps due to electrical issues.
The Bottle-O Ford temporarily stopped on its first lap before returning slowly to the pitlane.
The team subsequently having to unplug a series of sensors in order to get it back out.
The day’s second 40 minute session will get underway at 1415 local time.
Result: Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Coates Hire Sydney 500 Practice 1
|1||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Scott McLaughlin||Volvo S60||1:27.80|
|2||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VF||1:27.81||00.0097|
|3||Red Bull Racing Australia||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||1:27.89||00.0824|
|4||Red Bull Racing Australia||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore VF||1:27.97||00.1694|
|5||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore VF||1:28.26||00.4529|
|6||TeamVortex||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||1:28.41||00.6101|
|7||Sengled Motorsport||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:28.57||00.7620|
|8||Team Darrell Lea STIX||Will Davison||Holden Commodore VF||1:28.62||00.8150|
|9||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF||1:28.67||00.8680|
|10||Preston Hire Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore VF||1:28.83||01.0244|
|11||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:28.83||01.0266|
|12||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:28.87||01.0646|
|13||Nissan Motorsport||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||1:28.88||01.0788|
|14||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore VF||1:28.89||01.0904|
|15||Repair Management Aust Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore VF||1:28.89||01.0904|
|16||Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Moffat||Volvo S60||1:28.95||01.1487|
|17||carsales Racing||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:28.97||01.1616|
|18||DJR Team Penske||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:28.97||01.1668|
|19||Erebus Motorsport Penrite||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore VF||1:29.03||01.2230|
|20||GB Galvanizing Racing||Dale Wood||Nissan Altima||1:29.06||01.2563|
|21||Super Black Racing||Chris Pither||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:29.15||01.3437|
|22||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:29.21||01.4027|
|23||DJR Team Penske||Scott Pye||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:29.41||01.6077|
|24||Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Holden Commodore VF||1:29.55||01.7476|
|25||Erebus Motorsport||Shae Davies||Holden Commodore VF||1:29.99||02.1829|
|26||Team Cooldrive||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore VF||1:30.22||02.4203|