Shane van Gisbergen has set the fastest Supercars time ever recorded around Symmons Plains in the opening Practice session for this weekend’s Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint.
Triple Eight headed the early running, with Craig Lowndes setting the pace before Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup enjoyed spells at the top of the timing screens.
The trio remained close to the pointy end throughout, Lowndes setting the fastest lap in the back end of the session to underline his early pace.
The final stanza of the session was run off at a far higher tempo than usual, with teams beginning to think ahead to qualifying to cover off the chance of Practice 2 producing slower times.
It saw van Gisbergen set the fastest ever Supercars lap around Symmons Plains, banking a 50.7894s lap inside the final minute of the session using a set of green tyres.
“It’s amazing, we were faster than last year on a slower tyre, it’s meant to be,” van Gisbergen said.
“I guess in practice now, the game has really changed. You have to put down a good marker, normally we’d save a bit, but you’ve got to put down a marker to make sure you’re in the top 10 (for qualifying) and don’t use a set that you don’t need to.
“We put a good banker down, you never know what will happen in Practice 2 with weather or red flags, so, got a good marker, got a good car so that’s a good way to start.”
The Red Bull driver’s late effort saw him demote Scott Pye from top spot, the Walkinshaw Andretti United ending second.
It proved a positive session for the team, with James Courtney second fastest for a time before ending the session sixth, and Pye topping the standings for a time with a 50.8534s.
Having propped up the bottom of the timing screens in the early minutes, Fabian Coulthard jumped into the top 10 in a field that saw the top 25 runners covered by 1.2s after the opening 10 minutes.
The DJR Team Penske driver initially struggled with oversteer before heading out inside the final 10 minutes of the session to be the first to dip below the 51-second marker on his second consecutive flying lap.
The outlier was Simona de Silvestro, who suffered an electrical issue which left the Swiss driver stranded at pit entry.
Nissan Motorsport mechanics were forced to push the stricken Altima up pit lane before swapping out the car’s ECU in the first half of the session.
Nick Percat found himself off the road after locking a brake going into the penultimate corner before the BJR driver dived into pit lane with a just under 30 minutes remaining in the 45-minute session.
Teams have an additional set of tyres available for practice, with few opting to run the green Dunlop rubber in the opening session leaving the prospect of faster times in the afternoon’s session.
Mark Winterbottom was the leading Tickford Racing entry, seventh overall for the session, though complained of a poor handling car despite his comparative pace.
Outside of the top ten was David Reynolds, who was 0.4s off the time set by van Gisbergen.
Chaz Mostert was also down the order in 16th, with the entire field covered by little more than a second.
A second Practice session is scheduled for 1500 Friday afternoon, the times from which combined with those of Practice 1 will determine the 10 drivers who progress straight to Qualifying 2 tomorrow.
Results: Practice 1
|1||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||0:50.7894R|
|2||2||Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||0:50.8534||0:00.0640|
|3||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||0:50.9947||0:00.2053|
|4||888||Autobarn Lowndes Racing||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore ZB||0:51.0272||0:00.2378|
|5||1||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||0:51.0383||0:00.2489|
|6||25||Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||0:51.0510||0:00.2616|
|7||5||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||0:51.0693||0:00.2799|
|8||14||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||0:51.0757||0:00.2863|
|9||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Falcon FG/X||0:51.0946||0:00.3052|
|10||23||Drive Racing||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||0:51.0988||0:00.3094|
|11||9||Erebus Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||0:51.1149||0:00.3255|
|12||15||Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||0:51.1865||0:00.3971|
|13||18||Preston Hire Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore ZB||0:51.1868||0:00.3974|
|14||99||Erebus Thermosphere Racing||Anton De Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||0:51.1895||0:00.4001|
|15||33||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore ZB||0:51.3250||0:00.5356|
|16||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||0:51.4370||0:00.6476|
|17||35||Bigmate Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Ford Falcon FG/X||0:51.4684||0:00.6790|
|18||7||Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||0:51.5093||0:00.7199|
|19||8||Blackwoods Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||0:51.5164||0:00.7270|
|20||230||Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG/X||0:51.5516||0:00.7622|
|21||6||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||0:51.5568||0:00.7674|
|22||19||Tekno Autosports||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||0:51.5866||0:00.7972|
|23||34||Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||0:51.6615||0:00.8721|
|24||78||Team Harvey Norman||Simona de Silvestro||Nissan Altima||0:51.7106||0:00.9212|
|25||21||CoolDrive Racing||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore ZB||0:51.8327||0:01.0433|
|26||56||Tickford Racing||Richie Stanaway||Ford Falcon FG/X||0:51.8456||0:01.0562|