Slade steals top spot in Sydney test
Tim Slade has ended the official test day at Sydney Motorsport Park fastest after the Brad Jones Racing driver stole top spot in the dying minutes of the day’s activities.
Slade’s best of 1:28.616s saw him improve by almost three seconds over the time he set in the morning session, topping the charts by almost half a second.
He was also the only driver to dip below the 1:29s marker, with second placed Fabian Coulthard laying down a 1:29.105 to end the session, and the day, second fastest.
Appropriately in third was Michael Caruso, who had been fastest throughout most of the day’s running, the Nissan with a best of 1:29.145s just beating the 1:29.179s which saw him top the morning’s session.
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For the most part, Caruso looked in a class of his own following the opening hit out, with only Scott McLaughlin in the same region.
The DJR Team Penske driver recorded a 1:29.801 not long after the lunchtime break, however his day ended abruptly when a tyre failure saw him make heavy contact with the barrier at Turn 1.
A slow start to the afternoon’s proceedings saw Jack Perkins enjoy the Sydney Motorsport Park circuit to himself as he banked some valuable laps as part of his recently confirmed co-driver role at Walkinshaw Andretti United.
Slowly but surely others were tempted on track, Chaz Mostert and James Golding venturing out of the lane, with Cam Waters soon set an early best of 1:33.409s.
That sedate marker failed to last, with Craig Lowndes easily bettering it with a solid 1:29.783s effort.
As the half hour marker of the four-hour session ticked over the circuit was a hive of activity, with almost every car having been out on circuit at some point.
Another lull soon allowed McLaughlin some clean air, but a tyre failure at the high-speed Turn 1 saw him in the barrier and his day’s running over.
Ironically his time just prior to that incident, a 1:29.280s, almost stood the test of time as the DJR Team Penske watched the bulk of the afternoon’s proceedings from the garage.
Having run throughout the morning on whatever stock of old tyres they had available, in the afternoon teams were able to sample the revised ‘2016-spec’ Dunlop tyre set to be used throughout 2018.
What started as a sprinkle of fast times ended as in a storm as teams bolted on brand new tyres in the closing minutes of the day’s proceedings.
Initially, Mark Winterbottom improved in the Bottle-O Falcon with a 1:29.434s lap, demoting Todd Hazelwood who briefly held the second fastest time of the session.
The Matt Stone Racing rookie was relegated further down the order as James Courtney also improved, though in the final shakeout the pair would both drop outside the top ten.
Courtney was the sole remaining Walkinshaw Andretti United car running after Scott Pye suffered a front splitter problem which saw he and co-driver Warren Luff chalk up just seven laps after the luncheon interval.
There was one final stoppage, this time for Golding pulling up with a loose left front wheel, which saw the end of the session delayed by 10 minutes and a final six minute flurry of activity.
In the crescendo Shane van Gisbergen, Coulthard and ultimately Slade topped the timing sheets in what proved an climactic end to a day that, for a time, threatened to peter out.
Jack Le Brocq was the top rookie, having held that position in the morning’s session before banking a 1:29.280s to also claim the title in the latter part of the day.
Completing the most laps were Chaz Mostert and James Moffat, who shared the Supercheap Auto Racing entry as it tallied up 98 tours, with Nick Percat and Macauley Jones the next most prolific with 90 laps shared between them.
Slade was the single busiest driver, with 88 laps to his name alone, while at the other end of the spectrum Garry Rogers Motorsport mustered just 94 laps between both Garth Tander (46 laps) and Golding (48).
The Supercars season now heads on to South Australia on March 1-4 for the Adelaide 500, where the season proper begins.
RESULTS: Pre-season test, afternoon session
|1||14||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||41||1:28.616|
|2||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||35||1:29.105|
|3||23||Nissan Motorsport||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||29||1:29.145|
|4||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Aust||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||31||1:29.211|
|5||8||Blackwoods Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||42||1:29.215|
|6||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Falcon FG/X||13||1:29.280|
|7||19||TEKNO Autosports||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||39||1:29.286|
|8||1||Red Bull Holden Racing Aust||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||19||1:29.377|
|9||6||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||35||1:29.433|
|10||5||The Bottle-O Racing Team||M.Winterbottom/D.Canto||Ford Falcon FG/X||42||1:29.434|
|11||21||CoolDrive Racing||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore ZB||40||1:29.569|
|12||25||Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||J.Courtney/J.Perkins||Holden Commodore ZB||53||1:29.572|
|13||35||Bigmate Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Ford Falcon FG/X||26||1:29.579|
|14||888||Autobarn Lowndes Racing||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore ZB||34||1:29.613|
|15||7||Nissan Motorsport||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||33||1:29.613|
|16||230||Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG/X||35||1:29.614|
|17||78||Team Harvey Norman||Simona De Silvestro||Nissan Altima||42||1:29.677|
|18||99||Erebus Motorsport||Anton de Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||29||1:29.722|
|19||18||Preston Hire Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore ZB||45||1:29.816|
|20||15||Nissan Motorsport||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||39||1:29.826|
|21||9||Erebus Penrite Racing||D.Reynolds/L.Youlden||Holden Commodore ZB||24||1:29.868|
|22||2||Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||S.Pye/W.Luff||Holden Commodore ZB||7||1:29.892|
|23||33||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore ZB||28||1:30.389|
|24||56||Tickford Racing||Richie Stanaway||Ford Falcon FG/X||36||1:30.602|
|25||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||47||1:31.094|
|26||34||Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||10||1:31.560|
COMBINED RESULTS: Sydney Motorsport Park pre-season test
|Pos||Car||Competitor/Team||Driver||Vehicle||Laps||Session 1||Session 2|
|1||14||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||88||1:31.589||1:28.616|
|2||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||75||1:29.621||1:29.105|
|3||23||Nissan Motorsport||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||59||1:29.179||1:29.145|
|4||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Aust||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||81||1:31.572||1:29.211|
|5||15||Nissan Motorsport||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||63||1:29.213||1:29.826|
|6||8||Blackwoods Racing||N.Percat/M.Jones||Holden Commodore ZB||90||1:31.680||1:29.215|
|7||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Falcon FG/X||49||1:30.572||1:29.280|
|8||19||TEKNO Autosports||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||81||1:29.807||1:29.286|
|9||1||Red Bull Holden Racing Aust||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||55||1:32.485||1:29.377|
|10||6||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||78||1:30.446||1:29.433|
|11||5||The Bottle-O Racing Team||M.Winterbottom/D.Canto||Ford Falcon FG/X||87||1:30.843||1:29.434|
|12||21||CoolDrive Racing||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore ZB||71||1:31.908||1:29.569|
|13||25||Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||82||1:29.937||1:29.572|
|14||35||Bigmate Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Ford Falcon FG/X||61||1:30.553||1:29.579|
|15||888||Autobarn Lowndes Racing||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore ZB||75||1:29.687||1:29.613|
|16||7||Nissan Motorsport||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||71||1:30.264||1:29.613|
|17||230||Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG/X||68||1:30.252||1:29.614|
|18||9||Erebus Penrite Racing||D.Reynolds/L.Youlden||Holden Commodore ZB||66||1:29.627||1:29.868|
|19||2||Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||57||1:29.644||1:29.892|
|20||78||Team Harvey Norman||Simona De Silvestro||Nissan Altima||78||1:30.698||1:29.677|
|21||99||Erebus Motorsport||A.de Pasquale/W.Brown||Holden Commodore ZB||62||1:30.036||1:29.722|
|22||18||Preston Hire Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore ZB||71||1:31.470||1:29.816|
|23||33||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore ZB||46||1:30.528||1:30.389|
|24||56||Tickford Racing||Richie Stanaway||Ford Falcon FG/X||83||1:32.407||1:30.602|
|25||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||C.Mostert/J.Moffat||Ford Falcon FG/X||98||1:32.023||1:31.094|
|26||34||Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||48||1:32.061||1:31.560|