Scott McLaughlin went fastest in Practice 2 in Sydney but both Red Bull HRT Commodores will have to go into the first part of knockout Armor All Qualifying later today.
The half-hour session was just the second time the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship field had hit the track at this weekend’s Red Rooster Sydney SuperNight 300 event after a 40-minute hit-out the night before.
Neither Jamie Whincup (#1 ZB Commodore) nor Shane van Gisbergen (#97 ZB Commodore) went faster in Practice 2 and finished 16th and 17th on combined times.
“That’s not ideal,” said Whincup when told of the result.
“We didn’t get a good run in the end there which we would have liked (but) that’s the way it goes. We’ll go in Q1, we’ve still got a good opportunity to qualify somewhere good up the front and then we’ll see what tonight brings.”
Van Gisbergen put the outcome down to a reluctance to use up rubber before tonight’s 300km race.
“We have no tyres,” said the New Zealander.
“That’s the problem with this sport at the moment and we didn’t want to use race tyres. We haven’t dipped into Q1 tyres yet.”
Despite predictions that Practice 1 would be the quicker of the two sessions, McLaughlin’s best in the early afternoon running of 1:28.8369s just edged Mostert’s 1:28.8546s of the night before.
It began in pedestrian fashion with Chaz Mostert’s first flyer at 1:29.7322s standing up as the fastest lap of the session until the 21st minute.
That was when Fabian Coulthard, who was only 19th on Friday night, took the #12 Shell V-Power FGX Falcon to the top with a 1:29.4076s on not quite new tyres and put him sixth on combined practice times.
McLaughlin (#17 DJR Team Penske FGX Falcon) soon usurped his team-mate with a lap second to Mostert’s night time effort, and would subsequently improve to the very fastest time across the two practice sessions.
“It’s different, a lot different this track in the day, that’s for sure,” observed the championship leader.
“It’s funny, it’s like you’re back in your natural habitat. I love the night, not saying anything against it, but it’s nice to push that limit a little bit harder in the day.
“The car is really good, I had so much left in it. I probably lost a good three or four tenths in that last corner there; I’m excited.”
Rick Kelly would have just missed the combined top 10 but instead put himself second-fastest with a last-minute 1:28.8517s in the #15 Castrol Nissan Altima.
Mostert (#55 Supercheap Auto FGX Falcon) was nearly half a second slower than his best of Practice 1, which stood up for third-fastest on combined times.
Coulthard had been bundled back to 11th by the time he was completing his final lap with the chequered flag out, but elevated himself to third for the session and fourth combined, which will force Anton De Pasquale (#99 Penrite ZB Commodore) to go into the first part of qualifying.
Scott Pye (#2 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile ZB Commodore), like Mostert, had to rely on his time under lights to make the top 10 in fifth.
The next three cars of Tim Slade (#14 Freightliner ZB Commodore), James Courtney (#25 WAU ZB Commodore), and Jack Le Brocq (#19 Tekno Autosports ZB Commodore) all improved in the Western Sydney sunshine.
Mark Winterbottom (#5 The Bottle-O FGX Falcon) and James Golding (#34 Wilson Security ZB Commodore), the latter of whom also had to lift in Practice 2, rounded out the combined top 10.
The rest will have to go into the first part of the three-stage knockout qualifying process later in the day.
Among them are Craig Lowndes (#888 Autobarn ZB Commodore) and David Reynolds (#9 Erebus ZB Commodore), who didn’t improve by enough in Practice 2 and finished 14th and 15th for the two sessions overall.
Armor All Qualifying starts this afternoon at 1620 local time/AEST, and Race 21 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship under lights at 1920.
Results: Practice 2
|1||17 Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:28.8369*SS|
|2||15 Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:28.8517 SS||00.0148|
|3||12 Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:28.9272 SS||00.0903|
|4||14 Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||1:29.1456 SS||00.3087|
|5||25 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||1:29.1789 SS||00.3420|
|6||19 Tekno Autosport||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||1:29.2510 SS||00.4141|
|7||34 Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||1:29.3080 SS||00.4711|
|8||99 Erebus Thermosphere Racing||Anton de Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||1:29.3722 SS||00.5353|
|9||55 Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:29.3742 SS||00.5373|
|10||23 Drive Racing||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||1:29.4160 SS||00.5791|
|11||888 Autobarn Lowndes Racing||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore ZB||1:29.4344 SS||00.5975|
|12||9 Erebus Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||1:29.4356 SS||00.5987|
|13||8 Team Mrs Mac’s powered by Dare||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||1:29.6118 SS||00.7749|
|14||6 Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:29.6464 SS||00.8095|
|15||33 Wilson Security Racing GRM||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore ZB||1:29.6616 SS||00.8247|
|16||1 Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||1:29.7788 SS||00.9419|
|17||2 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||1:29.8268 SS||00.9899|
|18||5 The Bottle-O Racing Team||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:29.8326 SS||00.9957|
|19||7 Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||1:29.8399 SS||01.0030|
|20||18 Preston Hire Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore ZB||1:29.8523 SS||01.0154|
|21||97 Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||1:30.1280 SS||01.2911|
|22||78 Team Harvey Norman||Simona De Silvestro||Nissan Altima||1:30.3014 SS||01.4645|
|23||56 RABBLE.club Racing||Richie Stanaway||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:30.3248 SS||01.4879|
|24||35 Bigmate Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:30.4204 SS||01.5835|
|25||21 Team CoolDrive||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore ZB||1:30.4507 SS||01.6138|
|26||230 Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:30.5836 SS||01.7467|
Results Combined Practice 1 and 2
|1||17 Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Falcon FG/X||P2 1:28.8369*SS|
|2||15 Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||P2 1:28.8517 SS||00.0148|
|3||55 Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||P1 1:28.8546 SS||00.0177|
|4||12 Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||P2 1:28.9272 SS||00.0903|
|5||2 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||P1 1:29.0593 SS||00.2224|
|6||14 Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||P2 1:29.1456 SS||00.3087|
|7||25 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||P2 1:29.1789 SS||00.3420|
|8||19 Tekno Autosport||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||P2 1:29.2510 SS||00.4141|
|9||5 The Bottle-O Racing Team||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||P1 1:29.3060 SS||00.4691|
|10||34 Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||P2 1:29.3080 SS||00.4711|
|11||99 Erebus Thermosphere Racing||Anton de Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||P2 1:29.3722 SS||00.5353|
|12||8 Team Mrs Mac’s powered by Dare||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||P1 1:29.4149 SS||00.5780|
|13||23 Drive Racing||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||P2 1:29.4160 SS||00.5791|
|14||888 Autobarn Lowndes Racing||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore ZB||P2 1:29.4344 SS||00.5975|
|15||9 Erebus Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||P2 1:29.4356 SS||00.5987|
|16||1 Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||P1 1:29.4531 SS||00.6162|
|17||97 Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||P1 1:29.4786 SS||00.6417|
|18||6 Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||P1 1:29.5711 SS||00.7342|
|19||33 Wilson Security Racing GRM||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore ZB||P2 1:29.6616 SS||00.8247|
|20||7 Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||P2 1:29.8399 SS||01.0030|
|21||18 Preston Hire Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore ZB||P2 1:29.8523 SS||01.0154|
|22||78 Team Harvey Norman||Simona De Silvestro||Nissan Altima||P1 1:30.0780 SS||01.2411|
|23||56 RABBLE.club Racing||Richie Stanaway||Ford Falcon FG/X||P2 1:30.3248 SS||01.4879|
|24||35 Bigmate Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Ford Falcon FG/X||P2 1:30.4204 SS||01.5835|
|25||21 Team CoolDrive||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore ZB||P2 1:30.4507 SS||01.6138|
|26||230 Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG/X||P1 1:30.5699 SS||01.7330|