Jamie Whincup has topped the warm up for this afternoon’s Rabble.Club Sandown 500 as Nissan Motorsport showed off a new pit stop innovation.
Whincup (#1 Red Bull HRT ZB Commodore) rolled out a 1:08.4080s on his second flyer that stood up for the balance of the 20-minute session while there was a mechanical drama for Erebus Motorsport’s #99 ZB Commodore of Anton De Pasquale and co-driver Will Brown.
A noteworthy development came to light as teams took the opportunity to complete systems checks and practice pit stops ahead of the first two-driver race of the season.
Nissan Motorsport revealed a system whereby it can change the brake rotor and calipers as a single unit on its Altimas, which it rehearsed multiple times during the 20-minute session.
The system is especially significant in light of the fact that teams will be compelled to change rotors during next month’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 for the first time.
At Erebus, however, De Pasquale pulled Car #99 into the shed four minutes before the chequered flag after the front end was bouncing around with an apparent geometry problem.
“I’m not too sure, I just drove out of pit lane and it was like driving those West Coast Customs cars, bouncing around,” said the rookie during the final minutes of the session.
“Not sure if something is broken or has been misplaced in the front; we’ll have a look at it.
“I think the guys know what’s wrong, but obviously can’t fix it in two minutes. We’ll have it sorted for the race.”
Whincup was nearly four tenths clear of the field with team-mate Steven Richards putting Craig Lowndes’ #888 Autobarn ZB Commodore second-fastest.
The other Triple Eight ZB of Shane van Gisbergen was fifth-fastest, with co-driver Earl Bamber providing the main on-track highlight when he ran Car #97 off-track through the downhill slalom for a seemingly innocuous excursion.
Jonathon Webb finished the session in the #19 Tekno Autosports ZB Commodore, which he put third on the timesheets.
In an encouraging sign for Shell V-Power Racing, which struggled for pace on Saturday even if it locked out the second row of the grid for the 500, Scott McLaughlin placed the #17 FGX Falcon fourth-fastest.
“There’s only so much you can do to counter some straight line performance from the other cars of course,” said DJR Team Penske managing director Ryan Story.
“We won’t mention that ‘P’ word (parity) that everyone seems to have an allergic reaction to, but we worked pretty hard overnight to tune these things up with what we have.”
McLaughlin himself had a similar view.
“That was a lot better,” said the Kiwi.
“Full tanks, it feels good across the run. It’s a shorter run that we’ll normally do, but still feel pretty good. We made some good improvements.
“We’ve tried all weekend to be amongst them (Triple Eight particularly) down the chute; obviously they’re pretty quick in a straight line.
“(We’re) Trying to combat that, plus have a good car in the corners. We’ll see how we go today and give it a good crack.”
The #55 Supercheap Auto FGX Falcon of Chaz Mostert and James Moffat was sixth, ahead of the #25 Boost Mobile ZB Commodore for which repairs finished around midnight after James Courtney’s prang in Armor All Race for The Grid 2.
Rounding out the top 10 was the #230 Milwaukee Racing FGX Falcon, the #8 Brad Jones Racing ZB Commodore, and its sister #21 CoolDrive Racing ZB Commodore.
Pole-sitter David Reynolds put the #9 Erebus Penrite ZB Commodore, which Luke Youlden is expected to start, 11th on the timesheets.
The 2018 Sandown 500, the first race of the Pirtek Enduro Cup, starts at 1320 local time/AEST.
Results: Supercars Sandown 500 warm-up
|1||1 Red Bull Holden Racing Team||J.Whincup/P.Dumbrell||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.4080*SS|
|2||888 Autobarn Lowndes Racing||C.Lowndes/S.Richards||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.7958 SS||0:00.3878|
|3||19 Tekno Autosport||J.Le Brocq/J.Webb||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.7976 SS||0:00.3896|
|4||17 Shell V-Power Racing Team||S.McLaughlin/A.Premat||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:08.8335 SS||0:00.4255|
|5||97 Red Bull Holden Racing Team||S.Van Gisbergen/E.Bamber||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.8510 SS||0:00.4430|
|6||55 Supercheap Auto Racing||C.Mostert/J.Moffat||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:08.8584 SS||0:00.4504|
|7||25 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||J.Courtney/J.Perkins||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.8807 SS||0:00.4727|
|8||230 Milwaukee Racing||W.Davison/A.Davison||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:08.9668 SS||0:00.5588|
|9||8 SNAPES Racing||N.Percat/M.Jones||Holden Commodore ZB||1:09.0167 SS||0:00.6087|
|10||21 Team CoolDrive||T.Blanchard/D.Wood||Holden Commodore ZB||1:09.0534 SS||0:00.6454|
|11||9 Erebus Penrite Racing||D.Reynolds/L.Youlden||Holden Commodore ZB||1:09.0895 SS||0:00.6815|
|12||23 Drive Racing||M.Caruso/D.Fiore||Nissan Altima||1:09.0933 SS||0:00.6853|
|13||33 Wilson Security Racing GRM||G.Tander/C.Pither||Holden Commodore ZB||1:09.1099 SS||0:00.7019|
|14||18 Preston Hire Racing||L.Holdsworth/J.Bright||Holden Commodore ZB||1:09.1281 SS||0:00.7201|
|15||2 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||S.Pye/W.Luff||Holden Commodore ZB||1:09.1440 SS||0:00.7360|
|16||12 Shell V-Power Racing Team||F.Coulthard/T.D’Alberto||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:09.1680 SS||0:00.7600|
|17||5 The Bottle-O Racing Team||M.Winterbottom/D.Canto||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:09.2212 SS||0:00.8132|
|18||6 Monster Energy Racing||C.Waters/D.Russell||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:09.2975 SS||0:00.8895|
|19||34 Wilson Security Racing GRM||J.Golding/R.Muscat||Holden Commodore ZB||1:09.3316 SS||0:00.9236|
|20||14 Freightliner Racing||T.Slade/A.Walsh||Holden Commodore ZB||1:09.4559 SS||0:01.0479|
|21||78 Team Harvey Norman||S.De Silvestro/A.Rullo||Nissan Altima||1:09.4606 SS||0:01.0526|
|22||15 Castrol Racing||R.Kelly/G.Jacobson||Nissan Altima||1:09.5194 SS||0:01.1114|
|23||99 Erebus Motorsport||A.de Pasquale/W.Brown||Holden Commodore ZB||1:09.5588 SS||0:01.1508|
|24||56 RABBLE.club Racing||R.Stanaway/S.Owen||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:09.5779 SS||0:01.1699|
|25||7 Plus Fitness Racing||A.Heimgartner/A.Russell||Nissan Altima||1:09.5985 SS||0:01.1905|
|26||35 Bigmate Racing||T.Hazelwood/B.Fullwood||Holden Commodore VF2||1:09.7138 SS||0:01.3058|