McLaughlin edges Kelly in Darwin Practice 2

Scott McLaughlin

Scott McLaughlin beat Rick Kelly’s first flyer by just 0.04s to top Friday practice at Hidden Valley as Commodores continued to suffer front bar issues.

Kelly clocked a 1:06.1999s on his first timed lap in the #15 Castrol Altima, around 15 minutes after the Carrera Cup field had laid down rubber in their second practice session.

Only McLaughlin could better it when he set a 1:06.1587s in the last two minutes in the #17 Shell V-Power FGX Falcon, denying the Nissan Motorsport driver a sweep of the day’s two sessions at the CrownBet Darwin Triple Crown.

“We were one of the only ones that got a green (new tyre) gain from what we saw, so that was good,” said McLaughlin.

“But I think we just didn’t get that last sector right in regards to pressure and a few things so we need a little bit to work on. End of the time it’s P1 and that’s where we want to be.

The Kiwi did hypothesise that following the Porsches on-track for tomorrow’s Armor All Qualifying session could be pivotal in the outcome.

“That’s interesting seeing that at the start of qualifying we’re going to be rolling out on Porsche rubber, which is generally pretty fast so I’m sure you’ll see a lot of people run greens (at the start of the session),” he added.

Kelly said that he was pleased with his pace having focused on longer runs.

“(Engineer George Commins has) given me a very fast car, we’re just trying to focus a little bit more on the race run,” explained the 35-year-old.

“So I’m trying to make sure the car is really strong from that point of view, so we did two long race runs which filled the whole session there.”

Jamie Whincup, aided by new tyres like McLaughlin, was just over a tenth of a second slower again.

The 2017 champion appeared to be worst affected by the air dam vibrations experienced across multiple ZB Commodores throughout the day.

Both Red Bull entries suffered noticeably during Practice 2 with a replacement fitted to Whincup’s Car #1 around the quarter-hour mark, after which the problem appeared to diminish significantly.

Craig Lowndes and Shane van Gisbergen were fifth and sixth respectively in the other Triple Eight cars.

Splitting up the Banyo trio was Michael Caruso (#23 Drive Nissan Altima), who backed up his third placing in Practice 1 with a fourth position in the latter 45-minute session.

Rounding out the top 10 were David Reynolds (#9 Erebus Penrite ZB Commodore), Fabian Coulthard (#12 DJR Team Penske FGX Falcon), Andre Heimgartner (#7 Plus Fitness Nissan Altima), and Tim Blanchard (#21 CoolDrive ZB Commodore).

Cameron Waters (#6 Monster Energy FGX Falcon) was Tickford Racing’s best in the second practice session in 12th position, two higher than Chaz Mostert’s team benchmark from the midday hit-out.

James Courtney was the first of the Mobil 1 Boost Mobile ZB Commodores in 14th, while Brad Jones Racing wildcard entry Macauley Jones again rounded out the 27-car field.

The session was interrupted in the 16th minute to retrieve a stray bolt from the circuit, but no net time was lost with the delay just over two minutes.

The only other incidents of note were a handful of off-track excursions at Turn 1.

A third and final practice session, again scheduled for 45 minutes, will take place tomorrow at 1050 local time/1120 AEST.

Results: CrownBet Darwin Triple Crown Supercars Practice 2

1  17  Shell V-Power Racing Team Scott McLaughlin Ford Falcon FG/X 1:06.1587*SS
2  15  Castrol Racing Rick Kelly Nissan Altima 1:06.1999 SS 00.0412
3   1  Red Bull Holden Racing Team Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore ZB 1:06.3219 SS 00.1632
4  23  Drive Racing Michael Caruso Nissan Altima 1:06.3725 SS 00.2138
5 888  Autobarn Lowndes Racing Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore ZB 1:06.4716 SS 00.3129
6  97  Red Bull Holden Racing Team Shane Van Gisbergen Holden Commodore ZB 1:06.4973 SS 00.3386
7   9  Erebus Penrite Racing David Reynolds Holden Commodore ZB 1:06.5570 SS 00.3983
8  12  Shell V-Power Racing Team Fabian Coulthard Ford Falcon FG/X 1:06.5895 SS 00.4308
9   7  Plus Fitness Racing Andre Heimgartner Nissan Altima 1:06.6016 SS 00.4429
10  21  Team CoolDrive Tim Blanchard Holden Commodore ZB 1:06.6064 SS 00.4477
11  14  Freightliner Racing Tim Slade Holden Commodore ZB 1:06.6442 SS 00.4855
12   6  Monster Energy Racing Cameron Waters Ford Falcon FG/X 1:06.6586 SS 00.4999
13  99  Erebus Motorsport Anton de Pasquale Holden Commodore ZB 1:06.7143 SS 00.5556
14  25  Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing James Courtney Holden Commodore ZB 1:06.7208 SS 00.5621
15  78  Team Harvey Norman Simona De Silvestro Nissan Altima 1:06.7316 SS 00.5729
16  35  Bigmate Racing Todd Hazelwood Ford Falcon FG/X 1:06.7541 SS 00.5954
17   5  The Bottle-O Racing Team Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG/X 1:06.7941 SS 00.6354
18  55  Supercheap Auto Racing Chaz Mostert Ford Falcon FG/X 1:06.7986 SS 00.6399
19 230  Milwaukee Racing Will Davison Ford Falcon FG/X 1:06.8713 SS 00.7126
20  56  MEGA Racing Richie Stanaway Ford Falcon FG/X 1:06.8785 SS 00.7198
21  33  Wilson Security Racing GRM Garth Tander Holden Commodore ZB 1:06.9118 SS 00.7531
22   2  Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing Scott Pye Holden Commodore ZB 1:06.9609 SS 00.8022
23   8  Freightliner Racing Nick Percat Holden Commodore ZB 1:07.0490 SS 00.8903
24  19  Tekno Autosport Jack Le Brocq Holden Commodore ZB 1:07.0732 SS 00.9145
25  18  Preston Hire Racing Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore ZB 1:07.3474 SS 01.1887
26  34  Wilson Security Racing GRM James Golding Holden Commodore ZB 1:07.4138 SS 01.2551
27   4  DRILLPRO Racing Macauley Jones Holden Commodore ZB 1:07.5537 SS 01.3950

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