Whincup quickest in Sandown warm up

Jamie Whincup

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

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