McLaughlin fastest again in Darwin practice
Scott McLaughlin has continued to set the pace in a final Supercars practice session at Hidden Valley which was interrupted by a crash for Macauley Jones.
McLaughlin was fastest when the red flag interrupted proceedings just beyond the half-hour mark and improved during his final run when he stopped the clocks at a 1:06.1410s.
The #17 Shell V-Power FGX Falcon ended up 0.17s faster than next-best, who happened to be Jamie Whincup.
“There’s a little bit for me to work on just in regards to driving, couple of little differences that Fabian was taking at corners and stuff so I was sort of working on myself,” noted McLaughlin.
“We spent a lot of the session doing that; we did a couple little changes but we were happy yesterday, we didn’t want to overdo everything.
“I think, we’ve just done a couple little changes and it’s nice to experiment a little bit before quali.
“We’re not chasing anything we feel. We’re pretty happy at the moment.”
Whincup sat in the median of the 27-car field, 14th, ahead of the final runs before jumping up the order in the 43rd of 45 minutes.
His Triple Eight crew had made set-up changes to the front and rear end of the #1 Red Bull HRT ZB Commodore during the stoppage.
David Reynolds went second-fastest inside the first 10 minutes in the #9 Erebus Penrite ZB Commodore and remained there until being bumped by Whincup.
His 1:06.4257s was still good enough to put the 2017 Bathurst 1000 winner third-fastest.
James Courtney moved to a time which would ultimately put the #25 Boost Mobile ZB Commodore fourth with just under 10 minutes to go, while Rick Kelly’s (#15 Castrol Nissan Altima) early effort held up for fifth.
Shane van Gisbergen (#97 Triple Eight ZB Commodore) improved to seventh after the chequered flag, ahead of Fabian Coulthard (#12 DJR Team Penske FGX Falcon) and Anton De Pasquale (#99 Erebus ZB Commodore).
Craig Lowndes spent much of the session just inside or outside the top 20 but lifted late to end the hit-out 10th in the #888 Autobarn ZB Commodore.
Scott Pye (#2 WAU ZB Commodore) was 11th while Tickford Racing’s best for the second session in a row was a 12th position, this time for Chaz Mostert (#55 Supercheap Auto FGX Falcon).
Macauley Jones was 13th when he lost the rear of the #4 DrillPro ZB Commodore and backed into the tyre wall at Turn 10.
The impact with the double-tyre-protected embankment creased the roof and left team owner Brad Jones uncertain if it would reappear for Armor All Qualifying in the early afternoon.
“We’ve got a reasonable spares package but it really depends on how badly damaged the chassis is,” he explained.
“I don’t think kinking the roof like that is a good omen but we’ll see what it’s like when it gets back.
“Hopefully we can get it sorted out, I don’t know if we’ll get it done for qualifying but if we can have him racing today that would be great.”
The wildcard driver ended up 21st once the session came to as close.
Lee Holdsworth was four positions further back having been hampered by an oil leak in the #18 Preston Hire ZB Commodore, with the source suspected to be the transaxle.
Qualifying for Race 15 at the CrownBet Darwin Triple Crown starts at 1305 local time/1335 AEST.
Results: CrownBet Darwin Triple Crown Supercars Practice 3
|1||17 Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:06.1410*SS|
|2||1 Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||1:06.3157 SS||00.1747|
|3||9 Erebus Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||1:06.4257 SS||00.2847|
|4||25 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||1:06.4708 SS||00.3298|
|5||15 Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:06.5122 SS||00.3712|
|6||14 Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||1:06.5300 SS||00.3890|
|7||97 Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||1:06.5420 SS||00.4010|
|8||12 Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:06.5555 SS||00.4145|
|9||99 Erebus Motorsport||Anton de Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||1:06.5557 SS||00.4147|
|10||888 Autobarn Lowndes Racing||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore ZB||1:06.5656 SS||00.4246|
|11||2 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||1:06.6078 SS||00.4668|
|12||55 Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:06.6171 SS||00.4761|
|13||33 Wilson Security Racing GRM||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore ZB||1:06.6249 SS||00.4839|
|14||8 Freightliner Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||1:06.6267 SS||00.4857|
|15||23 Drive Racing||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||1:06.6546 SS||00.5136|
|16||5 The Bottle-O Racing Team||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:06.6737 SS||00.5327|
|17||34 Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||1:06.6823 SS||00.5413|
|18||7 Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||1:06.7407 SS||00.5997|
|19||78 Team Harvey Norman||Simona De Silvestro||Nissan Altima||1:06.7543 SS||00.6133|
|20||56 MEGA Racing||Richie Stanaway||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:06.7992 SS||00.6582|
|21||4 DRILLPRO Racing||Macauley Jones||Holden Commodore ZB||1:06.8147 SS||00.6737|
|22||6 Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:06.9243 SS||00.7833|
|23||21 Team CoolDrive||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore ZB||1:06.9613 SS||00.8203|
|24||230 Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:06.9733 SS||00.8323|
|25||18 Preston Hire Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore ZB||1:07.0231 SS||00.8821|
|26||19 Tekno Autosport||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||1:07.1717 SS||01.0307|
|27||35 Bigmate Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:07.3682 SS||01.2272|