Van Gisbergen fastest in Townsville Practice 1

Shane van Gisbergen

Shane van Gisbergen has set the pace as the three Triple Eight Holdens finished in the top four in the first practice session for the Watpac Townsville 400.

He and fellow title contender David Reynolds moved up the timesheets in the final two minutes of the 40-minute affair to finish first and second, 0.0768s apart.

They usurped Craig Lowndes, who ended up another 0.1658s behind, while Jamie Whincup ended up fourth-fastest.

Whincup was fastest until the 34th minute in the #1 Red Bull HRT ZB Commodore, at which time he had improved his first sector multiple times but not been able to lap any faster in total than his second flyer.

Lowndes then moved from ninth to first with a 1:12.9126s which remained his fastest despite a subsequent front-end tweak to the #888 Autobarn ZB Commodore.

Whincup did improve in the final three minutes to briefly lead again before he was bumped back by van Gisbergen’s (#97 ZB Commodore) 1:12.6700s and then Reynolds’ effort.

“It’s just practice, but we had decent tyres,” said van Gisbergen.

“(The) Car felt pretty good, we’re all up there from the start so that’s a good sign. Now just keep up with the track.”

Reynolds had a minor drama early on when a loose fitting caused a power steering failure for the #9 Erebus Penrite ZB Commodore, but the last-start winner was back among the front-runners by the halfway point.

“We had a little small steering failure,” confirmed Reynolds.

“(The) Steering went heavy so we came in and reconnected it and re-bled it. It was alright, just lost the first couple of runs.”

Rick Kelly sat as high as second before settling in fifth in the #15 Castrol Nissan Altima, one position ahead of James Courtney (#25 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile ZB Commodore).

Chaz Mostert was first of the Ford in seventh in the #55 Supercheap Auto FGX Falcon, while the top 10 was rounded out by Andre Heimgartner (#7 Plus Fitness Nissan Altima), Scott Pye (#2 Walkinshaw Andretti United ZB Commodore), and Lee Holdsworth (#18 Preston Hire ZB Commodore).

Jack Le Brocq (#19 Tekno Autosports ZB Commodore) ended up 11th having sat third during the middle of the session.

Championship leader Scott McLaughlin was only 12th in the #17 Shell V-Power FGX Falcon while team-mate Fabian Coulthard (#12 FGX Falcon) was 10 positions further back.

“We just ran the one (tyre) set and had an idea of where the track was at the first couple of runs,” said McLaughlin.

“We did our time and then did probably a 15-lap stint there.

“It’s important and obviously we know the degradation over the last few rounds has been a bit different. It felt alright.”

Mark Winterbottom (#5 The Bottle-O FGX Falcon) was 21st, rounding out the Tickford Racing contingent.

The session ran uninterrupted, with a scrape of the wall for James Golding (#34 Wilson Security ZB Commodore) the most noteworthy incident aside from Reynolds’ early problem.

A second 40-minute practice session is due to start at 1500 local time/AEST.

Results: Supercars Watpac Townsville 400 Practice 1

1  97  Red Bull Holden Racing Team Shane Van Gisbergen Holden Commodore ZB 1:12.6700*SS
2   9  Erebus Penrite Racing David Reynolds Holden Commodore ZB 1:12.7468 SS 00.0768
3 888  Autobarn Lowndes Racing Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore ZB 1:12.9126 SS 00.2426
4   1  Red Bull Holden Racing Team Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore ZB 1:13.0625 SS 00.3925
5  15  Castrol Racing Rick Kelly Nissan Altima 1:13.0784 SS 00.4084
6  25  Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing James Courtney Holden Commodore ZB 1:13.1252 SS 00.4552
7  55  Supercheap Auto Racing Chaz Mostert Ford Falcon FG/X 1:13.1285 SS 00.4585
8   7  Plus Fitness Racing Andre Heimgartner Nissan Altima 1:13.1758 SS 00.5058
9   2  Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing Scott Pye Holden Commodore ZB 1:13.2282 SS 00.5582
10  18  Preston Hire Racing Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore ZB 1:13.2284 SS 00.5584
11  19  Tekno Autosport Jack Le Brocq Holden Commodore ZB 1:13.2850 SS 00.6150
12  17  Shell V-Power Racing Team Scott McLaughlin Ford Falcon FG/X 1:13.2955 SS 00.6255
13   8  Dunlop Racing Nick Percat Holden Commodore ZB 1:13.3060 SS 00.6360
14 230  Milwaukee Racing Will Davison Ford Falcon FG/X 1:13.4680 SS 00.7980
15   6  Monster Energy Racing Cameron Waters Ford Falcon FG/X 1:13.5258 SS 00.8558
16  99  Erebus Penrite Racing Anton de Pasquale Holden Commodore ZB 1:13.5300 SS 00.8600
17  14  Freightliner Racing Tim Slade Holden Commodore ZB 1:13.5455 SS 00.8755
18  23  Drive Racing Michael Caruso Nissan Altima 1:13.5796 SS 00.9096
19  56 Racing Richie Stanaway Ford Falcon FG/X 1:13.6571 SS 00.9871
20  33  Wilson Security Racing GRM Garth Tander Holden Commodore ZB 1:13.7278 SS 01.0578
21   5  The Bottle-O Racing Team Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG/X 1:13.7657 SS 01.0957
22  12  Shell V-Power Racing Team Fabian Coulthard Ford Falcon FG/X 1:13.8154 SS 01.1454
23  35  Bigmate Racing Todd Hazelwood Ford Falcon FG/X 1:13.8732 SS 01.2032
24  78  Team Harvey Norman Simona De Silvestro Nissan Altima 1:14.0501 SS 01.3801
25  21  Team CoolDrive Tim Blanchard Holden Commodore ZB 1:14.2592 SS 01.5892
26  34  Wilson Security Racing GRM James Golding Holden Commodore ZB 1:14.6138 SS 01.9438

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