Whincup sets the pace in opening practice

Tom Howard

Friday 2nd March, 2018 - 11:20am


Jamie Whincup pic: Matthew Paul Photography

Jamie Whincup kicked off the 2018 Supercars season by topping the opening practice session of the Adelaide 500 in the new Holden ZB Commodore.

The seven-time champion was among the top runners for the majority of the session holding top spot at the halfway mark, before improving to a 1:20.16s in the final moments.

Whincup edged Shell V-Power Racing’s Scott McLaughlin to top spot, before the Ford of Mark Winterbottom split the 2017 championship rivals with a last gasp effort.

“Good way to start the year of course,” said Whincup.

“We’ve been doing some pretty big work over the break on the mechanical side of things so we’re in a good place to start the weekend.”

Winterbottom ended the session 0.21s adrift of of Whincup while McLaughlin was two tenths further back in third.

“We’re just having a go, which is nice, it’s nice to be back at the top of the timesheets, although its practice, but feeling good. I want to go racing,” said Winterbottom.

Shane van Gisbergen set the early pace with a 1:21.24s in the Red Bull Holden as the Brisbane squad dominated the early running.

Team-mate Craig Lowndes was next to lower the benchmark before he was surpassed by Whincup, who was the first to dip into the 1:20s bracket shortly before the halfway point in the session.

The reigning champion did however survive a scrape with the wall at Turn 8.

Winterbottom held fourth up with Shell V-Power Racing Scott McLaughlin in fifth.

McLaughlin’s session was soon interrupted when he lost the rear and lightly tagged the wall on the exit of Turn 4.

The New Zealander returned to the pits with superficial damage to the rear of the Falcon but returned to set a flying lap, which was only surpassed by Whincup and Winterbottom.

“There’s a lot more in me, but there’s a lot more we need to get out of the car as well,” said McLaughlin.

“I felt like we were very high all session, that’s just how I feedback to Ludo so just try and get a little bit more feeling in the rear but I think the tyre grip was definitely hurting us at that point.

“When we fixed that up it was great, but you know what it’s like when you go from an old tyre to a new tyre.

“It’s quite hard to get your head around straight away, and around here you want to just creep up on it a little bit more slowly.”

Van Gisbergen ended the session in fourth ahead of Will Davison, who impressed throughout in the Milwaukee Racing Ford Falcon FGX.

Tickford Racing’s Cameron Waters briefly held the top spot in the final five minutes before sliding down to sixth at the chequered flag.

Walkinshaw Andretti United managed to place both its cars in the top 10 with James Courtney seventh, while Scott Pye was 10th.

Tim Slade was eighth and Lowndes occupied ninth in the Autobarn-backed Holden.

Nick Percat was just outside the top 10 in 11th despite stalling his Brad Jones Racing Commodore on the entrance to pit lane midway through the hit-out.

Lee Holdsworth was 12th ahead of the top Nissan of Michael Caruso in 13th spot.

New Zealand’s Richie Stanaway was the fastest of the five rookies in 16th in front of Fabian Coulthard (Shell V-Power Racing), Garth Tander (Garry Rogers Motorsport) and Chaz Mostert (Tickford Racing).

Meanwhile, Erebus Motorsport’s David Reynolds lost significant time in the garage due to a stuck wheel nut on his left rear.

The team were forced to employ the use of an angle grinder to eventually remove he nut before he could rejoin the session with six minutes remaining.

Reynolds ended up in 22nd while local driver Todd Hazelwood finished in 23rd spot.

The Supercars field will return to the track for a second 40 minute session at 1150 local time.

Results: Practice 1

Pos Num Team/Sponsor Driver Car Fastest lap Split
1 1 Red Bull Holden Racing Team Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore ZB 1:20.1622
2 5 The Bottle-O Racing Team Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG/X 1:20.3768 0:00.2146
3 17 Shell V-Power Racing Team Scott McLaughlin Ford Falcon FG/X 1:20.5649 0:00.4027
4 97 Red Bull Holden Racing Team Shane van Gisbergen Holden Commodore ZB 1:20.6734 0:00.5112
5 230 Milwaukee Racing Will Davison Ford Falcon FG/X 1:20.6995 0:00.5373
6 6 Monster Energy Racing Cameron Waters Ford Falcon FG/X 1:20.7375 0:00.5753
7 25 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing James Courtney Holden Commodore ZB 1:20.8376 0:00.6754
8 14 Freightliner Racing Tim Slade Holden Commodore ZB 1:20.9106 0:00.7484
9 888 Autobarn Lowndes Racing Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore ZB 1:20.9241 0:00.7619
10 2 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing Scott Pye Holden Commodore ZB 1:20.9696 0:00.8074
11 8 Blackwoods Racing Nick Percat Holden Commodore ZB 1:21.0069 0:00.8447
12 18 Preston Hire Racing Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore ZB 1:21.1047 0:00.9425
13 23 Nissan Motorsport Michael Caruso Nissan Altima 1:21.1238 0:00.9616
14 15 Nissan Motorsport Rick Kelly Nissan Altima 1:21.1599 0:00.9977
15 7 Nissan Motorsport Andre Heimgartner Nissan Altima 1:21.1746 0:01.0124
16 56 Tickford Racing Richie Stanaway Ford Falcon FG/X 1:21.2145 0:01.0523
17 12 Shell V-Power Racing Team Fabian Coulthard Ford Falcon FG/X 1:21.2512 0:01.0890
18 33 Wilson Security Racing GRM Garth Tander Holden Commodore ZB 1:21.3131 0:01.1509
19 55 Supercheap Auto Racing Chaz Mostert Ford Falcon FG/X 1:21.3505 0:01.1883
20 99 Erebus Racing Anton de Pasquale Holden Commodore ZB 1:21.5815 0:01.4193
21 21 CoolDrive Racing Tim Blanchard Holden Commodore ZB 1:21.7646 0:01.6024
22 9 Erebus Penrite Racing David Reynolds Holden Commodore ZB 1:21.8386 0:01.6764
23 35 Bigmate Racing Todd Hazelwood Ford Falcon FG/X 1:21.8715 0:01.7093
24 19 Tekno Autosports Jack Le Brocq Holden Commodore ZB 1:22.4461 0:02.2839
25 78 Team Harvey Norman Simona de Silvestro Nissan Altima 1:22.8772 0:02.7150
26 34 Wilson Security Racing GRM James Golding Holden Commodore ZB 1:22.9076 0:02.7454 comment policy

Comments require approval before being published. reserves the right to deny any post that is abusive or offtopic.

Users are encouraged to flag/report comments which should be removed.

Some comments may require approval before being published which can take up to 48 hours.

For support, please contact [email protected] has been established to provide a daily motorsport news service to the industry and fans in Australia and internationally.

Read the promise

Subscribe to our daily newsletter, the best way to get your news first, fast, and free!