Whincup tops opening Supercars practice 

Tom Howard

Thursday 22nd March, 2018 - 1:45pm

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Jamie Whincup

Jamie Whincup opened the Coates Hire Melbourne 400 by topping the times in the opening practice session at Albert Park.

The reigning Supercars champion posted a 1:55.40s effort on supersoft compound tyres with his final flying lap in the 30 minute session.

Whincup, on green tyres, proved to be 0.3s faster than Brad Jones Racing’s Nick Percat who was among group of drivers to improve late in the running.

“Just a slippy track, this AGP circuit,” said Whincup.

“I don’t think it’s been resurfaced for a long time, but the car’s there or thereabouts. We’re slowly chipping away (with) this next generation Commodore.”

Lee Holdsworth ended up third having set the initial pace with an effort on his first timed lap, which was good enough to remain in the top three.

James Courtney was fourth in the #25 Walkinshaw Andretti United Commodore, while Fabian Coulthard (Shell V-Power Racing) emerged as the top Ford in fifth.

Coulthard was running a new composite bonnet on his car after Supercars approved the use of new panels for Ford and Nissan teams prior to the session.

Scott Pye was sixth while the top 10 was completed by David Reynolds (Erebus Motorsport), Chaz Mostert (Tickford Racing), Garth Tander (Garry Rogers Motorsport) and Michael Caruso (Nissan Motorsport).

All four Nissan Altimas were running new composite roofs after receiving a green light from Supercars.

Meanwhile, Adelaide 500 winner Shane van Gisbergen was 17th fastest just behind Scott McLaughlin in the #17 Shell Ford.

Mark Winterbottom, equipped with a new lighter bonnet, ended the session last after his fastest lap, his only tour using supersofts, was scrubbed from the results due to a kerb strike.

The Ford driver fell foul of track limits rules at the Adelaide 500.

“He got a kerb strike on his one timed lap on soft tyres,” said Tickford boss Tim Edwards.

“(He was) Probably just in front of Chaz, so sixth or seventh or something like that.

“He only did one timed lap and he got a kerb strike, although it didn’t come up on the screen as a kerb strike. We had to ring someone to find out and they confirmed that.”

Supercars will return to the track for a second 30 minute practice session at 1440 local time/AEDT.

Results: Practice 1

Pos Num Team/Sponsor Driver Car Fastest lap Split
1 1 Red Bull Holden Racing Team Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore ZB 1:55.4067
2 8 Tempur Racing Nick Percat Holden Commodore ZB 1:55.7152 0:00.3085
3 18 Preston Hire Racing Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore ZB 1:55.8823 0:00.4756
4 25 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing James Courtney Holden Commodore ZB 1:55.9005 0:00.4938
5 12 Shell V-Power Racing Team Fabian Coulthard Ford Falcon FG/X 1:55.9027 0:00.4960
6 2 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing Scott Pye Holden Commodore ZB 1:55.9893 0:00.5826
7 9 Erebus Penrite Racing David Reynolds Holden Commodore ZB 1:56.0061 0:00.5994
8 55 Supercheap Auto Racing Chaz Mostert Ford Falcon FG/X 1:56.3417 0:00.9350
9 33 Wilson Security Racing GRM Garth Tander Holden Commodore ZB 1:56.4489 0:01.0422
10 23 Drive Racing Michael Caruso Nissan Altima 1:56.6426 0:01.2359
11 888 Autobarn Lowndes Racing Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore ZB 1:56.7212 0:01.3145
12 14 Freightliner Racing Tim Slade Holden Commodore ZB 1:56.7626 0:01.3559
13 15 Castrol Racing Rick Kelly Nissan Altima 1:56.8730 0:01.4663
14 99 Erebus Thermosphere Racing Anton de Pasquale Holden Commodore ZB 1:57.0976 0:01.6909
15 7 Plus Fitness Racing Andre Heimgartner Nissan Altima 1:57.1509 0:01.7442
16 17 Shell V-Power Racing Team Scott McLaughlin Ford Falcon FG/X 1:57.3381 0:01.9314
17 97 Red Bull Holden Racing Team Shane Van Gisbergen Holden Commodore ZB 1:57.4283 0:02.0216
18 56 Tickford Racing Richie Stanaway Ford Falcon FG/X 1:57.6435 0:02.2368
19 6 Monster Energy Racing Cameron Waters Ford Falcon FG/X 1:57.6738 0:02.2671
20 34 Wilson Security Racing GRM James Golding Holden Commodore ZB 1:57.8936 0:02.4869
21 35 Bigmate Racing Todd Hazelwood Ford Falcon FG/X 1:57.9864 0:02.5797
22 21 CoolDrive Racing Tim Blanchard Holden Commodore ZB 1:58.1038 0:02.6971
23 230 Milwaukee Racing Will Davison Ford Falcon FG/X 1:58.1079 0:02.7012
24 78 Team Harvey Norman Simona De Silvestro Nissan Altima 1:58.2520 0:02.8453
25 19 Tekno Autosport Jack Le Brocq Holden Commodore ZB 1:58.6604 0:03.2537
26 5 The Bottle-O Racing Team Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG/X 1:59.1153 0:03.7086

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