Caruso on top as SVG, Coulthard collide in practice

Michael Caruso

Michael Caruso posted the fastest time in final practice as the primary drivers logged their first dry running of the Sandown 500 weekend.

Drivers were presented with the driest track conditions of the weekend so far, although the surface featured plenty of damp patches following an overnight rain shower.

Caruso surged to the top of the times as the 15 minute session reached its final stages after posting a 1:10.74s effort.

The Nissan Motorsport was sitting atop of the times from Scott McLaughlin when the session was red flagged with two minutes remaining.

James Moffat’s #34 Garry Rogers Motorsport Holden Commodore nudged the barriers at Turn 4 before becoming bogged in the wet grass on the exit of the corner.

Practice restarted providing a flurry of times in the final minutes.

In the end, Caruso’s time proved enough as Shell V Power Racing’s McLaughlin ended second, with Nissan Motorsport’s Rick Kelly in third.

“The conditions of the circuit were pretty difficult because there’s still a few wet patches on the track,” said Caruso.

“It is hard to get a real judge on how the car is going to handle for qualifying, but nonetheless it’s good that our car’s good in the majority of the conditions.”

The final minute provided a talking point when Triple Eight’s Shane van Gisbergen nudged the rear of Fabian Coulthard’s car, resulting in a spin for the Shell Ford at the final corner.

Van Gisbergen immediately apologised for the error over the radio before going to see his countryman at the end of the session.

Stewards elected to investigate the incident.

“Phil (Keed engineer) is fired up but you know, at the end of the day there is no rewind button for Shane so we will just cop it and move on, we are not too fazed,” said Coulthard.

“It is what it is, I am not too fazed, he is going to come down, he is a decent enough person normally to do that so I would expect it from him.”

Meanwhile, Freightliner Racing’s Tim Slade was among a group of drivers to improve as he jumped to fourth ahead of Brad Jones Racing team-mate Nick Percat.

Todd Kelly ensured three of the four Nissans finished in the top 10 in sixth.

The top 10 was completed by Cameron Waters (Prodrive), Craig Lowndes (Triple Eight), James Courtney (Mobil 1 HSV Racing) and van Gisbergen.

Mark Winterbottom was 11th after struggles on Friday that resulted in Prodrive undergoing an investigation on the car.

The team were unable to find an issue with the Falcon.

Jamie Whincup could only manage 15th spot, while Coulthard was mired in 25th position.

The field will return for a 20 minute qualifying session at 1050 AEST.

Results: Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Wilson Security Sandown 500 Practice 4 

1 Nissan Motorsport Michael Caruso Nissan Altima 1:10.1714*SS
2 Shell V-Power Racing Team Scott McLaughlin Ford Falcon FG/X 1:10.3419 SS 00.1705
3 Sengled Racing Rick Kelly Nissan Altima 1:10.4696 SS 00.2982
4 Freightliner Racing Tim Slade Holden Commodore VF 1:10.6539 SS 00.4825
5 Mongrel Boots Racing Nick Percat Holden Commodore VF 1:10.6787 SS 00.5073
6 carsales Racing Todd Kelly Nissan Altima 1:10.7311 SS 00.5597
7 Monster Energy Racing Cameron Waters Ford Falcon FG/X 1:10.7740 SS 00.6026
8 TeamVortex Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore VF 1:10.8368 SS 00.6654
9 Mobil 1 HSV Racing James Courtney Holden Commodore VF 1:10.8478 SS 00.6764
10 Red Bull Holden Racing Aust Shane Van Gisbergen Holden Commodore VF 1:10.8721 SS 00.7007
11 The Bottle-O Racing Team Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG/X 1:10.9005 SS 00.7291
12 Erebus Penrite Racing David Reynolds Holden Commodore VF 1:10.9832 S 00.8118
13 Wilson Security Racing GRM James Moffat Holden Commodore VF 1:11.0249 SS 00.8535
14 Wilson Security Racing GRM Garth Tander Holden Commodore VF 1:11.0501 SS 00.8787
15 Red Bull Holden Racing Aust Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore VF 1:11.1864 SS 01.0150
16 Preston Hire Racing Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore VF 1:11.2667 SS 01.0953
17 TEKNO Woodstock Racing Will Davison Holden Commodore VF 1:11.4334 SS 01.2620
18 Mobil 1 HSV Racing Scott Pye Holden Commodore VF 1:11.4345 SS 01.2631
19 Supercheap Auto Racing Chaz Mostert Ford Falcon FG/X 1:11.5741 SS 01.4027
20 Erebus GB Galvanizing Racing Dale Wood Holden Commodore VF 1:11.6679 SS 01.4965
21 Team CoolDrive Tim Blanchard Holden Commodore VF 1:12.1377 SS 01.9663
22 Plus Fitness Racing A.Russell/T.Douglas Holden Commodore VF 1:12.4532 SS 02.2818
23 MEGA Racing Jason Bright Ford Falcon FG/X 1:12.6480 SS 02.4766
24 Team Harvey Norman Simona De Silvestro Nissan Altima 1:12.6802 SS 02.5088
25 Shell V-Power Racing Team Fabian Coulthard Ford Falcon FG/X 1:12.8297 S 02.6583
26 Repair Management Aust Racing Alex Rullo Holden Commodore VF 1:14.1725 SS 04.0011

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