Jamie Whincup has topped Friday practice at the Watpac Townsville 400 by a significant margin as Shane van Gisbergen made for a Red Bull Holden Racing Team one-two.
Whincup (#1 ZB Commodore) ended the day with a best time of 1:12.2435s, 0.3437s faster than his team-mate (#97 ZB Commodore) as both took new tyres for the end of Practice 2.
Scott McLaughlin effectively lost the first half of the 40-minute session due to a throttle sensor problem in the #17 Shell V-Power Racing FGX Falcon.
When he did attempt a first flyer, McLaughlin went to the top, before trading fastest laps with Whincup with around 10 minutes remaining.
Practice 1 fast man van Gisbergen and then Whincup usurped McLaughlin in the latter stages.
“We’re on our program, which is nice; we got through everything in P1 and everything in P2,” said Whincup.
“We didn’t maximise P1 but we felt like we sort of maximised then.
“Everyone will take a step up tomorrow, but (the) car is feeling nice.
“After the test day (and) after Darwin, the car is much nicer to drive and it puts a smile on my dial when the thing is good to drive.”
Van Gisbergen, the Practice 1 pace-setter, said, “It’s good, feels pretty good so far.
“We have good tyres so that’s put us up front, but everyone was on a new (tyre) then I think so hopefully it’s genuine.
“I think qualifying is our biggest test; we’re always fast in practice and racing but in qualifying we can’t make the tyre work.
“We need to see what they did (Car #1 crew) and put it together.”
Traffic prevented McLaughlin from improving on his ultimate personal best of 1:12.6438s but the lap was still good enough for third-fastest.
“Just come up on that green lap there and just a few guys came out the pits but it’s just not worth the risking going to the absolute maximum just in case they didn’t see me,” explained the championship leader.
“We’ve got a bit of work to do but overall not too bad today.”
Nick Percat (#8 Dunlop ZB Commodore) moved from the back of the top 10 to fourth in the final minute, one position ahead of Will Davison (#230 Milwaukee FGX Falcon).
The top 10 was completed by David Reynolds (#9 Erebus Penrite ZB Commodore), Rick Kelly (#14 Castrol Nissan Altima), Jack Le Brocq (#19 Tekno Autosports ZB Commodore), Fabian Coulthard (#12 DJR Team Penske FGX Falcon), and Scott Pye (#2 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile ZB Commodore).
Tickford’s quartet was led by Mark Winterbottom (#5 The Bottle-O FGX Falcon) in 11th, from Cameron Waters (#6 Monster Energy FGX Falcon) in 19th, Chaz Mostert (#55 Sueprcheap Auto FGX Falcon) in 20th, and Richie Stanaway (#56 Rabble.Club FGX Falcon) at the rear of the 26-car field.
Craig Lowndes (#888 Autobarn ZB Commodore) was 15th-fastest and Garth Tander (#33 Wilson Security ZB Commodore) 22nd.
Next up is Armor All Qualifying for Race 17 of the championship tomorrow at 1155 local time /AEST.
Results: Practice 2
|1||1||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.2435|
|2||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.5872||0:00.3437|
|3||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:12.6438||0:00.4003|
|4||8||Dunlop Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.6582||0:00.4147|
|5||230||Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:12.6926||0:00.4491|
|6||9||Erebus Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.7153||0:00.4718|
|7||15||Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:12.8247||0:00.5812|
|8||19||Tekno Autosports||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.8387||0:00.5952|
|9||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:12.9445||0:00.7010|
|10||2||Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||1:12.9740||0:00.7305|
|11||5||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:12.9746||0:00.7311|
|12||23||Drive Racing||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||1:13.0165||0:00.7730|
|13||25||Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||1:13.0333||0:00.7898|
|14||14||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||1:13.0540||0:00.8105|
|15||888||Autobarn Lowndes Racing||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore ZB||1:13.0908||0:00.8473|
|16||18||Preston Hire Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore ZB||1:13.1054||0:00.8619|
|17||99||Erebus Penrite Racing||Anton De Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||1:13.1130||0:00.8695|
|18||78||Team Harvey Norman||Simona de Silvestro||Nissan Altima||1:13.1547||0:00.9112|
|19||6||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:13.1754||0:00.9319|
|20||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:13.1953||0:00.9518|
|21||7||Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||1:13.1955||0:00.9520|
|22||33||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore ZB||1:13.3990||0:01.1555|
|23||35||Bigmate Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:13.4058||0:01.1623|
|24||21||Team CoolDrive||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore ZB||1:13.4640||0:01.2205|
|25||34||Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||1:13.5360||0:01.2925|
|26||56||RABBLE.club Racing||Richie Stanaway||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:13.7510||0:01.5075|