Michael Caruso put Nissan Motorsport on top in the opening Supercars practice session at the Red Rooster Sydney Super Sprint.
Caruso produced strong pace straight out of the box moving to the top of the times early in the session, which was affected by blustery conditions at the 3.93km Western Sydney venue.
The Nissan Motorsport driver briefly surrendered the position to DJR Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin before Caruso responded with a faster time before recording a 1:29.96s to end up on top.
Caruso was the only driver to dip into the 1:29s bracket during the 45 minute session.
McLaughlin was Caruso’s nearest rival albeit 0.37s shy, while Red Bull’s Jamie Whincup was third.
“There’s still a bit to try and obviously our next session we’ll try to improve, but the wind around here’s crazy, particularly on my very first lap,” said Caruso.
“I came down the (main) straight and I didn’t even get into sixth gear and I said, ‘Is there something wrong with our engine?’ and our engineer said, ‘Nah, mate, there’s a pretty big headwind.’ So, it’s a challenge but it’s one that we need to tackle.
“We might be on top but I’m sure when everybody has a decent crack at it next session we’ll know where we are.”
Tim Slade was fourth fastest in the #14 Brad Jones Racing Commodore ahead of Fabian Coulthard in the sister DJR Team Penske Falcon.
Queensland Raceway winner Chaz Mostert was the top Prodrive driver in sixth ahead of Erebus Motorsport’s David Reynolds.
The top 10 was completed by Cameron Waters (Prodrive), Lee Holdsworth (Preston Hire Racing) and Mobil 1 HSV Racing’s Scott Pye, who was without a set of green practice tyres.
Mark Winterbottom, who is adopting Mostert’s set-up this weekend, was 11th while reigning champion Shane van Gisbrgen could only manage 14th ahead of James Moffat and Simona de Silvestro.
Will Davison’s session came to a premature end when his Lightning McQueen liveried Tekno Autosports Holden developed a steering rack issue.
“Lightning was a bit cranky this morning he hasn’t woken up too well, it has been a rough start for the young fella,” said Davison.
“We have got a problem with the steering rack so we have got to change it.”
The Supercars field will return for second 45 minute practice session from 1530 local time.
Results: Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Red Rooster Sydney Super Sprint Practice 1
|1||Nissan Motorsport||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||1:29.9643|
|2||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:30.3412||00.3769|
|3||Red Bull Holden Racing Aust||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||1:30.4764||00.5121|
|4||Freightliner Racing||T.Slade/A.Walsh||Holden Commodore VF||1:30.4887||00.5244|
|5||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:30.4968||00.5325|
|6||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:30.6024||00.6381|
|7||Erebus Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore VF||1:30.7322||00.7679|
|8||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:30.7429||00.7786|
|9||Preston Hire Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore VF||1:30.8991||00.9348|
|10||Mobil 1 HSV Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore VF||1:30.9617||00.9974|
|11||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:30.9876||01.0233|
|12||ACDelco Racing||N.Percat/M.Jones||Holden Commodore VF||1:30.9985||01.0342|
|13||Team CoolDrive||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore VF||1:31.0141||01.0498|
|14||Red Bull Holden Racing Aust||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore VF||1:31.0266||01.0623|
|15||Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Moffat||Holden Commodore VF||1:31.1411||01.1768|
|16||Team Harvey Norman||Simona De Silvestro||Nissan Altima||1:31.1456||01.1813|
|17||TeamVortex||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||1:31.2292||01.2649|
|18||Erebus GB Galvanizing Racing||Dale Wood||Holden Commodore VF||1:31.4179||01.4536|
|19||Mobil 1 HSV Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VF||1:31.5082||01.5439|
|20||Repair Management Aust Racing||Alex Rullo||Holden Commodore VF||1:31.5594||01.5951|
|21||MEGA Racing||Jason Bright||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:31.6062||01.6419|
|22||Sengled Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:31.6138||01.6495|
|23||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF||1:31.7533||01.7890|
|24||carsales Racing||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:31.8252||01.8609|
|25||Repair Management Aust Racing||Alex Davison||Holden Commodore VF||1:32.2250||02.2607|
|26||TEKNO Woodstock Racing||Will Davison||Holden Commodore VF||1:34.2933||04.3290|