Pirtek Enduro Cup debutants Will Brown and Earl Bamber have finished first and second in Practice 3 for the Rabble.Club Sandown 500.
In a 30-minute session which ended with the top five cars within a tenth of a second, Erebus Motorsport’s Brown (#99 ZB Commodore) pipped Triple Eight’s Bamber (#97 ZB Commodore) by 0.0032s with a 1:08.6230s.
They were followed by three far more experienced names in Steven Richards (#888 Autobarn ZB Commodore), and Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing team-mates Jack Perkins (#25 ZB Commodore) and Warren Luff (#2 ZB Commodore).
Brown was near the pace early on in Anton De Pasquale’s Graeme Bailey Celica tribute before being shuffled back to as low as 19th, from which he sprung all the way to the top in the final five minutes.
The 2017 Mike Kable Young Gun Award winner ran through the gravel at Dandenong Road shortly after but was not usurped at the top.
“(I’m) Excited, we ended up P1 in that one and just can’t thank these guys at Erebus enough,” said Brown.
“To just give me the opportunity, my first enduro and to end the day like this… it’s Anton’s birthday, so happy birthday to him.
“I was going for another lap, down into Dandenong Road, went off and almost got a stuck and caused a red flag,” he recalled of his late error.
“I was pretty scared, definitely got the heart rate going. That’s how it is.”
Like Brown, Bamber found a little under two tenths of a second relative to his Practice 1 best in Shane van Gisbergen’s Red Bull HRT entry to place second.
Richards was marginally faster than in the morning’s co-driver session on his way to third, having briefly held first position before Bamber’s and Brown’s fast laps.
Paul Dumbrell piloted Jamie Whincup’s #1 Triple Eight ZB Commodore to sixth, 0.1322s slower than Brown, but still owns the fastest time of the day having broken the practice record in the opening session.
Ash Walsh (#14 Freightliner ZB Commodore) made for an all-Holden top seven while Alex Rullo was the first Nissan in eighth in Simona de Silvestro’s #78 Harvey Norman Altima.
The #55 Supercheap Auto FGX Falcon was back on track after Chaz Mostert’s crash in Practice 2 and James Moffat put it ninth on the timesheets in Practice 3.
“It’s only Friday, and the weather looks like it will be good for ducks tomorrow, so probably not relevant in many ways,” quipped Moffat.
“It’s a good start for us, we just wanted to get through that session nice and clean.
“Got a couple of little things we can tidy up with the car so we’ll work on that overnight. All in all, not too bad.”
Tony D’Alberto was 10th in Fabian Coulthard’s #12 Shell V-Power FGX Falcon while Alexandre Premat was back in 23rd in Scott McLaughlin’s sister #17 entry.
While Luke Youlden, Jonathon Webb, and Jason Bright all had off-track excursions, the session ran uninterrupted just as the first two did.
On combined times for the day, Dumbrell is fastest from van Gisbergen (Practice 2), James Courtney (Practice 2), Garth Tander (#33 Wilson Security ZB Commodore, Practice 2), and Dean Fiore (#23 Industrial Athlete Nissan Altima, Practice 1).
A fourth, 15-minute practice session is scheduled for tomorrow at 1010 local time /AEST.
|1||99 Erebus Motorsport||William Brown||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.6230*SS|
|2||97 Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Earl Bamber||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.6262 SS||00.0032|
|3||888 Autobarn Lowndes Racing||Steven Richards||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.6292 SS||00.0062|
|4||25 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||Jack Perkins||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.7110 SS||00.0880|
|5||2 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||Warren Luff||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.7223 SS||00.0993|
|6||1 Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Paul Dumbrell||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.7552 SS||00.1322|
|7||14 Freightliner Racing||Ashley Walsh||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.7795 SS||00.1565|
|8||78 Team Harvey Norman||Alex Rullo||Nissan Altima||1:08.8002 SS||00.1772|
|9||55 Supercheap Auto Racing||James Moffat||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:08.8231 SS||00.2001|
|10||12 Shell V-Power Racing Team||Tony D’Alberto||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:08.9782 SS||00.3552|
|11||8 SNAPES Racing||Macauley Jones||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.9868 SS||00.3638|
|12||6 Monster Energy Racing||David Russell||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:09.0035 SS||00.3805|
|13||23 Drive Racing||Dean Fiore||Nissan Altima||1:09.0519 SS||00.4289|
|14||56 RABBLE.club Racing||Steve Owen||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:09.0677 SS||00.4447|
|15||9 Erebus Penrite Racing||Luke Youlden||Holden Commodore ZB||1:09.1355 SS||00.5125|
|16||15 Castrol Racing||Garry Jacobson||Nissan Altima||1:09.1403 SS||00.5173|
|17||19 Tekno Autosport||Jonathon Webb||Holden Commodore ZB||1:09.1837 SS||00.5607|
|18||21 Team CoolDrive||Dale Wood||Holden Commodore ZB||1:09.2214 SS||00.5984|
|19||7 Plus Fitness Racing||Aaren Russell||Nissan Altima||1:09.2878 SS||00.6648|
|20||230 Milwaukee Racing||Alex Davison||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:09.3572 SS||00.7342|
|21||34 Wilson Security Racing GRM||Richard Muscat||Holden Commodore ZB||1:09.3767 SS||00.7537|
|22||5 The Bottle-O Racing Team||Dean Canto||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:09.4161 SS||00.7931|
|23||17 Shell V-Power Racing Team||Alexandre Premat||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:09.4361 SS||00.8131|
|24||33 Wilson Security Racing GRM||Chris Pither||Holden Commodore ZB||1:09.6401 SS||01.0171|
|25||18 Preston Hire Racing||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore ZB||1:09.8445 SS||01.2215|
|26||35 Bigmate Racing||Bryce Fullwood||Holden Commodore VF2||1:10.0900 SS||01.4670|