Kelly tops damp final practice at Sandown

Rick Kelly

Rick Kelly has set the fastest lap on a drying track in the fourth and final practice session for the Rabble.Club Sandown 500.

Kelly ended the 15-minute session more than eight tenths clear of Garth Tander as Jamie Whincup rounded out the top three.

Rain earlier in the morning left Sandown International Motor Raceway wet for the start of the session and the whole 26-car field proceeded onto the track on wets.

Lap times started in the 1:19s but gradually came down to the high-1:15s with around 10 minutes elapsed, when David Reynolds held sway in the #9 Erebus Penrite ZB Commodore.

It was around then that competitors began to switch to slicks as a dry line formed in places.

Whincup jumped to the top with a 1:15.4761s early in his second run, although computer timing still had wets on the #1 Red Bull HRT ZB Commodore.

Tander, one of the first to take slicks, moved from 15th to the lead in the final minute with a 1:15.1601s in the #33 Wilson Security GRM ZB Commodore.

Whincup subsequently improved his time without regaining position before Kelly vaulted from 10th to first with a 1:14.3447s after the chequered flag in the #15 Castrol Nissan Altima.

“You don’t learn a lot in terms of car set-up,” said Kelly.

“I did all that session, (co-driver Garry Jacobson) has had an hour and I’ve had 45 minutes (track time) and we’re going to head into quali now.

“Not much you can take from a session like that, but more so what lines you can use in the wet like that, cross-over times from wets to slicks and stuff like that.”

Nick Percat (#8 Brad Jones Racing VF Commodore) was a late mover to fourth and James Courtney (#25 Boost Mobile ZB Commodore) to fifth.

Rounding out the top 10 were Anton De Pasquale (#99 Erebus ZB Commodore), Michael Caruso (#23 Industrial Athlete Nissan Altima), Todd Hazelwood (#35 Bigmate VF Commodore), Richie Stanaway (#56 Rabble.Club FGX Falcon), and Reynolds.

Scott McLaughlin was 14th in the #17 Shell V-Power FGX Falcon and Fabian Coulthard 20th in the sister #12 FGX.

Earl Bamber finished the session in Shane van Gisbergen’s #97 Triple Eight ZB Commodore, which ended up 18th thanks to the championship leader’s earlier effort.

He was one of five co-drivers to get laps during the session, although only Jonathon Webb was faster than his primary driver in 24th in the #19 Tekno ZB Commodore.

A number of drivers ran off in the tricky conditions, most notably James Golding who spun early at Turn 3.

The #34 GRM ZB Commodore spent most of the session back in the shed given that Golding scraped the rear wing along the fence as he swapped ends.

“Just on the out lap there, I made a mistake over the Turn 3 kerb, car slid and just couldn’t catch it in time; it’s so slippery out there,” said Golding.

“It’s damaged the rear of the wing, so a bit risky going out there and pressing on so we’ll just fix it up for qualifying and do a better job there.”

Armor All Qualifying, the first of the three-part process to set the grid for tomorrow’s Pirtek Enduro Cup opener, starts at 1140 local time/AEST.

Results: Practice 4

Pos Num Team/Sponsor Driver(s) Car Fastest lap Split
1 15 Castrol Racing Rick Kelly Nissan Altima 1:14.3447 SS  
2 33 Wilson Security Racing GRM Garth Tander Holden Commodore ZB 1:15.1601 SS 0:00.8154
3 1 Red Bull Holden Racing Team Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore ZB 1:15.2925 W 0:00.9478
4 8 SNAPES Racing Nick Percat Holden Commodore ZB 1:15.4365 W 0:01.0918
5 25 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing James Courtney Holden Commodore ZB 1:15.4387 W 0:01.0940
6 99 Erebus Motorsport Anton De Pasquale Holden Commodore ZB 1:15.5760 W 0:01.2313
7 23 Drive Racing Michael Caruso Nissan Altima 1:15.6054 SS 0:01.2607
8 35 Bigmate Racing Todd Hazelwood Holden Commodore VF2 1:15.7207 SS 0:01.3760
9 56 Racing Richie Stanaway Ford Falcon FG/X 1:15.7903 SS 0:01.4456
10 9 Erebus Penrite Racing David Reynolds Holden Commodore ZB 1:15.8472 W 0:01.5025
11 2 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing Scott Pye Holden Commodore ZB 1:15.8600 W 0:01.5153
12 888 Autobarn Lowndes Racing C.Lowndes/S.Richards Holden Commodore ZB 1:15.9759 W 0:01.6312
13 78 Team Harvey Norman Simona de Silvestro Nissan Altima 1:16.0800 W 0:01.7353
14 17 Shell V-Power Racing Team Scott McLaughlin Ford Falcon FG/X 1:16.0921 W 0:01.7474
15 18 Preston Hire Racing Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore ZB 1:16.3064 W 0:01.9617
16 55 Supercheap Auto Racing C.Mostert/J.Moffat Ford Falcon FG/X 1:16.3164 W 0:01.9717
17 6 Monster Energy Racing Cameron Waters Ford Falcon FG/X 1:16.3418 SS 0:01.9971
18 97 Red Bull Holden Racing Team S.van Gisbergen/E.Bamber Holden Commodore ZB 1:16.6237 W 0:02.2790
19 21 Team CoolDrive Tim Blanchard Holden Commodore ZB 1:16.7012 SS 0:02.3565
20 12 Shell V-Power Racing Team Fabian Coulthard Ford Falcon FG/X 1:16.7296 W 0:02.3849
21 230 Milwaukee Racing W.Davison/A.Davison Ford Falcon FG/X 1:16.8787 W 0:02.5340
22 5 The Bottle-O Racing Team Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG/X 1:16.9733 W 0:02.6286
23 14 Freightliner Racing Tim Slade Holden Commodore ZB 1:17.2941 SS 0:02.9494
24 19 Tekno Autosports J.Le Brocq/J.Webb Holden Commodore ZB 1:17.8832 W 0:03.5385
25 7 Plus Fitness Racing Andre Heimgartner Nissan Altima 1:18.1416 W 0:03.7969
  34 Wilson Security Racing GRM James Golding Holden Commodore ZB    

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