McLaughlin raises the bar in second practice 

Scott McLaughlin pic: Matthew Paul Photography

Scott McLaughlin clocked the fastest lap time of the day as he blitzed the second and final practice session of the inaugural Coates Hire Newcastle 500.

The championship contender was the only driver to break into the 1:09s as he ended the 40 minute session with a comfortable 0.4s margin over championship leader and Practice 1 pacesetter Jamie Whincup.

McLaughlin moved to the top of the times with a 1:09.89s effort before improving on the benchmark twice, resulting in a 1:09.59s lap.

Whincup was unable to match his championship rival, leaving him adrift of the Shell Ford at the chequered flag.

“It’s Friday. I wish it was bloody Saturday or whatever,” said McLaughlin.

“The car is really nice. It wasn’t bad in the first one (practice) but it wasn’t anywhere like it is now, Ludo (Lacroix)’s really tuned it up for me and listened to what I wanted, and it’s exactly what I needed.

“We’d saved (tyres), throughout the year, we’ve saved for this round just to have tyres in the bank knowing it was a new track.

“At the moment the car’s really nice and to be able to throw tyres at it is a luxury. But on the race run it was really nice too, so that’s good.”

Competing in what is set to be his final Supercars event, Todd Kelly claimed third in the #7 Nissan Altima, while Scott Pye (Mobil 1 HSV Racing) continued his impressive run at the Newcastle street circuit to finish fourth.

“The car was pretty good and I didn’t get that many laps in that first practice so we were a little bit behind, so I’m a little bit surprised at the time. But the car did what I wanted it to, and there it is,” said Todd Kelly.

“I’m blown away. I honestly didn’t expect this event to be so big.

“Looking out here at all the waterway and all the huge boats and stuff, and us on the other side in pit lane, and the track’s just amazing. The guys have done an amazing job setting the whole place up, it’s brilliant.”

Fabian Coulthard (Shell V-Power Racing) was fifth fastest ahead of Brad Jones Racing’s Tim Slade.

The top 10 was completed by David Reynolds (Erebus Motorsport), Garth Tander (Garry Rogers Motorsport), Nick Percat (Brad Jones Racing) and James Courtney (Mobil 1 HSV Racing).

After finishing third fastest in the first session, Shane van Gisbergen (Red Bull Holden) was left to settle for 14th, ahead of high profile names Mark Winterbottom (Prodrive) in 16th, Craig Lowndes (Triple Eight) in 17th and Chaz Mostert (Prodrive) in 19th position.

“(Shane) thinks something’s wrong with the car, not just a tuning problem, it’s changed between P1 and 2,” said Triple Eight team manager Mark Dutton.

“We haven’t been able to put our finger on it yet.

“We’ll tear it down now and have a quick analysis to see if that is the case or see if (it is) the changing grip conditions. We couldn’t find anything wrong during the session.

(It) just feels like a different car. Just doesn’t turn properly, he got in and straight away said it’s not the same car he had in P1.”

Supercars will return for Armor All Qualifying on Saturday at 1100 local time which will set the grid for the penultimate race of the season.

Results: Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Coates Hire Newcastle 500, Practice 2

Pos Team Driver Car Time Gap
1 Shell V-Power Racing Team Scott McLaughlin Ford Falcon FG/X 1:09.5949R
2 Red Bull Holden Racing Aust Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore VF 1:10.0294r 0.4345
3 carsales Racing Todd Kelly Nissan Altima 1:10.0835r 0.4886
4 Mobil 1 HSV Racing Scott Pye Holden Commodore VF 1:10.1047r 0.5098
5 Shell V-Power Racing Team Fabian Coulthard Ford Falcon FG/X 1:10.1297r 0.5348
6 Freightliner Racing Tim Slade Holden Commodore VF 1:10.1772 0.5823
7 Erebus Penrite Racing David Reynolds Holden Commodore VF 1:10.2870 0.6921
8 Wilson Security Racing GRM Garth Tander Holden Commodore VF 1:10.2886 0.6937
9 Timken Racing Nick Percat Holden Commodore VF 1:10.3011 0.7062
10 Mobil 1 HSV Racing James Courtney Holden Commodore VF 1:10.3073 0.7124
11 Sengled Racing Rick Kelly Nissan Altima 1:10.3365 0.7416
12 Nissan Motorsport Michael Caruso Nissan Altima 1:10.3681 0.7732
13 Monster Energy Racing Cameron Waters Ford Falcon FG/X 1:10.3700 0.7751
14 Red Bull Holden Racing Aust Shane Van Gisbergen Holden Commodore VF 1:10.4238 0.8289
15 Preston Hire Racing Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore VF 1:10.4532 0.8583
16 The Bottle-O Racing Team Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG/X 1:10.5000 0.9051
17 TeamVortex Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore VF 1:10.6527 1.0578
18 Wilson Security Racing GRM James Moffat Holden Commodore VF 1:10.7324 1.1375
19 Supercheap Auto Racing Chaz Mostert Ford Falcon FG/X 1:10.7748 1.1799
20 Team Harvey Norman Simona De Silvestro Nissan Altima 1:10.7918 1.1969
21 TEKNO Woodstock Racing Will Davison Holden Commodore VF 1:10.7972 1.2023
22 Team CoolDrive Tim Blanchard Holden Commodore VF 1:10.8276 1.2327
23 MEGA Racing Jason Bright Ford Falcon FG/X 1:10.9670 1.3721
24 Plus Fitness Racing Aaren Russell Holden Commodore VF 1:11.0648 1.4699
25 Erebus GB Galvanizing Racing Dale Wood Holden Commodore VF 1:11.2685 1.6736
26 Repair Management Aust Racing Taz Douglas Holden Commodore VF 1:11.3783 1.7834

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