McLaughlin sets impressive pace in final practice
Scott McLaughlin proved the man to beat after posting a blistering effort in final practice at the Winton Super Sprint.
The DJR Team Penske driver pumped out an impressive 1:19.59s effort as teams logged their first meaningful dry running during the 45-minute outing at the rural Victorian circuit.
McLaughlin set his time with 12 minutes of the session remaining that saw him hold a 0.6s margin over the field until late efforts from Chaz Mostert (Prodrive) and Shane van Gisbergen (Triple Eight) on green tyres.
Drivers faced a slippery green track surface aided by the lack of rubber build up from Friday’s wet weather.
“It was weird. I think everyone probably had the same drama because no one went quicker on greens but the car felt not too bad,” said McLaughlin.
“I felt like I just maybe picked up a bit of understeer on the green set but you traditionally get that so we’ll work on it.
“It’s still a bit tram track-y out there, it’s quite dirty on the track, but it’s still reasonably quick, so it’s the same for everyone but it’s definitely a challenge for sure.”
Mostert was McLaughlin’s nearest rival just 0.08s adrift, while reigning champion van Gisbergen was two tenths back in the top Triple Eight car.
Brad Jones Racing continued its strong showing with Tim Slade fourth ahead of Friday pacesetter Nick Percat, who held second until the final two minutes.
Mark Winterbottom was sixth in the #5 Prodrive entry ahead of Michael Caruso, who was the fastest of the five Nissan Altimas on track.
Garry Rogers Motorsport’s Garth Tander ended the session in eighth with the top 10 completed by Fabian Coulthard (DJRTP) and Erebus Motorsport’s David Reynolds.
Will Davison just missed out on the top 10 ahead of Mobil 1 HSV Racing’s James Courtney in 12th position.
Jamie Whincup could only manage a time good enough for 24th spot behind Craig Lowndes (23rd) as the Triple Eight duo struggled for outright pace.
“We just can’t get the front and rear to match together,” said Lowndes, who signed a new two-year deal prior to the weekend.
“We had a crack on a new tyre and that highlighted the issue, we hoped the new tyre would hide it but it didn’t.”
The session was halted briefly with just six minutes on the clock when wildcard runner James Golding lost control and backed his Garry Rogers Motorsport Holden into the gravel at Turn 6.
Golding managed recover this car back to the track without issue.
Shae Davies was the top wildcard runner in 21st spot despite suffering a small off at Turn 6.
The Supercars field will tackle a 15 minute qualifying session at 1325 ahead of a 40-lap race, scheduled to start at 1600 local time.
Result: Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Winton Super Sprint Practice 3
|1||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:19.5923*SS|
|2||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:19.6791 SS||00.0868|
|3||Red Bull Holden Racing Aust||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore VF||1:19.8043 SS||00.2120|
|4||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore VF||1:20.1232 SS||00.5309|
|5||Freightliner/Alliance Truck||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore VF||1:20.2034 SS||00.6111|
|6||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:20.2459 SS||00.6536|
|7||Nissan Motorsport||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||1:20.2540 SS||00.6617|
|8||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF||1:20.3661 SS||00.7738|
|9||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:20.4011 SS||00.8088|
|10||Erebus Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore VF||1:20.4337 SS||00.8414|
|11||TEKNO Woodstock Racing||Will Davison||Holden Commodore VF||1:20.4785 SS||00.8862|
|12||Mobil 1 HSV Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VF||1:20.5018 SS||00.9095|
|13||Mobil 1 HSV Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore VF||1:20.5089 SS||00.9166|
|14||Sengled Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:20.5282 SS||00.9359|
|15||carsales Racing||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:20.5725 SS||00.9802|
|16||MEGA Racing||Jason Bright||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:20.5902 SS||00.9979|
|17||Preston Hire Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore VF||1:20.5918 SS||00.9995|
|18||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:20.6533 SS||01.0610|
|19||Team CoolDrive||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore VF||1:20.6678 SS||01.0755|
|20||Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Moffat||Holden Commodore VF||1:20.7866 SS||01.1943|
|21||Loco Energy Drink||Shae Davies||Nissan Altima||1:20.8222 SS||01.2299|
|22||Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Golding||Holden Commodore VF||1:20.8527 SS||01.2604|
|23||TeamVortex||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||1:20.9408 SS||01.3485|
|24||Red Bull Holden Racing Aust||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||1:20.9752 SS||01.3829|
|25||Erebus GB Galvanizing Racing||Dale Wood||Holden Commodore VF||1:21.1541 SS||01.5618|
|26||Team Harvey Norman||Simona De Silvestro||Nissan Altima||1:21.1869 SS||01.5946|
|27||Drillpro Racing||Macauley Jones||Holden Commodore VF||1:21.2199 SS||01.6276|
|28||Repair Management Aust Racing||Taz Douglas||Holden Commodore VF||1:21.6461 SS||02.0538|
|29||LD Motorsport||Alex Rullo||Holden Commodore VF||1:22.4282 SS||02.8359|