Whincup fastest in opening Symmons practice
Jamie Whincup returned to the top of the time sheets in the opening practice session at the Tyrepower Tasmania Super Sprint.
The Red Bull HRT driver saved his best for the final minutes of the session as the six-time champion made the most of a set of brand new super-soft tyres.
Whincup posted a time under his own 2014 qualifying and practice lap record with a 50.94s.
His effort surpassed the two DJR Team Penske Ford Falcons which had sat atop of the times heading into the final moments the 45 minute session.
Scott McLaughlin ended the running in second just 0.14s adrift of Whincup.
Championship leader Shane van Gisbergen was third in the sister Red Bull HRT Commodore, which ran red numbers as Supercars continued its trial to better identify the championship leader to fans.
The Kiwi was involved in an entertaining scrap with Fabian Coulthard, who had enjoyed a spell at the top of the times.
Coulthard ended the session in fifth behind Mobil 1 HSV Racing’s Scott Pye who was among those to improve late in the running.
The top 10 was completed by Chaz Mostert (Prodrive), Will Davison (Tekno Autosports), Lee Holdsworth (Preston Hire Racing), Mark Winterbottom (Prodrive) and Tim Slade (Brad Jones Racing).
Slade was one of four drivers to endure off track excursions having run wide at Turn 1.
He was mirrored by team-mates Nick Percat and Tim Blanchard, who both had moments at the same corner.
Percat caused the only red flag of the session when he locked up and ran deep into the gravel trap at the Turn 4 hairpin with 17 minutes remaining.
The South Australian’s rebuilt Commodore, following the brake failure at Albert Park, was retrieved and he returned to the action later on.
“I’m battling with a bit of front locking,” said Percat.
“The brakes are working exceptionally well this weekend compared to the last time I drove it.”
Erebus Motorsport’s Dale Wood was the other driver to run off the road when he ran wide at Turn 4.
Triple Eight’s Craig Lowndes could only managed a time good enough for P22 after suffering a power steering leak which saw him return to the garage for much of Practice.
“We want to make sure we get out this afternoon and have a good strong run, so we opted to stop early, get it fixed and obviously get out this afternoon,” said Lowndes.
“It’s a bit of a shame. The car is actually working very well, we’d made some good progress and just put on some new tyres to do a simulation of where we could have been.”
There was a late moment between James Courtney and James Moffat which resulted in the former gesticulating to the GRM driver.
Courtney locked a brake on his Mobil 1 HSV Racing Commodore and ran by Moffat at Turn 4.
“I was waving to Moff,” exclaimed Courtney following the incident.
“I locked up massively into the hairpin as I went past him and it wasn’t a bad sign – I was trying to be funny.
“For us, my own fault, I flatspotted a tyre massively at the GP on our super soft set so I had to run hards all this session, so just trying to hunt that balance.”
The field will return for another 45 minute practice session at 1500 local time.
Result: Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Tyrepower Tasmania Super Sprint Practice 1
|1||Red Bull Holden Racing Aust||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||0:50.9455RSS|
|2||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Falcon FG/X||0:51.0883 SS||00.1428|
|3||Red Bull Holden Racing Aust||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore VF||0:51.2017 SS||00.2562|
|4||Mobil 1 HSV Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore VF||0:51.3238 SS||00.3783|
|5||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||0:51.3901 SS||00.4446|
|6||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||0:51.4040 SS||00.4585|
|7||TEKNO Woodstock Racing||Will Davison||Holden Commodore VF||0:51.5085 SS||00.5630|
|8||Preston Hire Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore VF||0:51.5152 SS||00.5697|
|9||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||0:51.5475 SS||00.6020|
|10||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore VF||0:51.6596 SS||00.7141|
|11||BIANTE 1:1||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore VF||0:51.6663 SS||00.7208|
|12||MEGA Racing||Jason Bright||Ford Falcon FG/X||0:51.7188 SS||00.7733|
|13||Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Moffat||Holden Commodore VF||0:51.7361 SS||00.7906|
|14||carsales Racing||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima||0:51.7816 SS||00.8361|
|15||Erebus GB Galvanizing Racing||Dale Wood||Holden Commodore VF||0:51.7894 SS||00.8439|
|16||Sengled Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||0:51.7901 SS||00.8446|
|17||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF||0:51.8200 SS||00.8745|
|18||Nissan Motorsport||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||0:51.8973 SS||00.9518|
|19||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||0:51.9558 SS||01.0103|
|20||Erebus Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore VF||0:52.1246 SS||01.1791|
|21||Mobil 1 HSV Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VF||0:52.2804 S||01.3349|
|22||TeamVortex||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||0:52.2866 S||01.3411|
|23||Repair Management Aust Racing||Taz Douglas||Holden Commodore VF||0:52.3298 SS||01.3843|
|24||Team Harvey Norman||Simona De Silvestro||Nissan Altima||0:52.5368 SS||01.5913|
|25||Repair Management Aust Racing||Alex Rullo||Holden Commodore VF||0:52.8862 S||01.9407|
|26||Team CoolDrive||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore VF||0:53.0955 S||02.1500|