Craig Lowndes got in the fastest lap before rainfall took the pace out of the Additional Drivers Practice session at the Truck Assist Winton SuperSprint.
Lowndes, in Jamie Whincup’s #88 ZB Commodore, and fellow Red Bull Holden Racing Team pilot Garth Tander, in Shane van Gisbergen’s #97 ZB Commodore, ended up topping the 30-minute hit-out.
The two multiple Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 winners were separated by 0.3889s at the top of the timesheets after a session which had already started on a track which was still slightly damp after earlier rain.
The only representative laps in dry or near-dry conditions were set during the opening 10 minutes, with Warren Luff finishing third fastest in Scott Pye’s #2 Mobil 1 Mega ZB Commodore.
“We have got limited wet weather tyres so the team said prior to that session that if it did rain or was those kind of conditions where you need to get onto a wet tyre, we probably wouldn’t go out,” explained Lowndes.
“I’m really thankful, that is why I went out of the gate hard. Garth got me at Tasmania (Symmons Plains AD session) so I was pretty keen to get him this weekend.
“It was nice to be back in the car to get familiar with everything with the development and the ergonomics of the car.”
Pye’s and James Courtney’s Walkinshaw Andretti United cars are this weekend running with additional engineering oversight from co-team principal Mat Nilsson and technical director Carl Faux respectively, in addition to their regular race engineers.
Jack Perkins was fifth in Courtney’s #22 ZB Commodore, with the Clayton cars split by Tickford Racing’s James Moffat (#55 Supercheap Auto Mustang).
Super3 driver Broc Feeney, the 16-year-old called up by Penrite Racing to steer Anton De Pasquale’s #99 ZB Commodore, was sixth on the timesheet, albeit at 2.1621s off the pace.
“It was unbelievable, I couldn’t believe it, it was so good to get out there. It was a bit of shame the rain came but it was good to get put there,” said Feeney.
“I’m massively thankful for Erebus Penrite Racing for giving me the opportunity. It was so much fun out there I really want to go again.”
Rounding out the top 10 were Dean Canto (#21 CoolDrive ZB Commodore), Tom Randle (#5 The Bottle-O Mustang), Bryce Fullwood (#7 Plus Fitness Altima), and wildcard Jack Smith (#4 SCT Logistics ZB Commodore).
The rain got heavier around the 10-minute mark before easing off, with some drivers opting to venture back onto the circuit in the latter half of the session and timing showing a mixture of wets and slicks across the various cars.
Alexandre Premat was first to cut more laps after the period of somewhat more intense rain, having travelled from his Las Vegas base to get mileage in Scott McLaughlin’s #17 Shell V-Power Mustang ahead of his Pirtek Enduro Cup campaign with DJR Team Penske.
He was ultimately classified 22nd by virtue of a 1:33.0445s set right at the end on wets having not clocked a representative time when the track was at its best.
The Frenchman had been 21st with the chequered flag out before being edged out of his position by team-mate Tony D’Alberto (#12 Mustang), who ended up setting the fastest lap on wets of 1:32.4028s.
Several drivers chose not to go back out after their first or second runs, including the top three, although all 25 had some track time.
“The wet tyre allocation is pretty tight this weekend too so there is no point wasting wet tyres on us,” said Tander.
“For some guys, driving in those changeable conditions is invaluable because they can learn about the grip level when running a wet tyre on a greasy track.
“For us, who have done it once or twice, there is only a 50-minute turnaround for the primary drivers (for Practice 1), so it was about no risk and try and learn something, and we couldn’t do that with the conditions we had which was a shame.”
There were some minor offs but no significant incidents around the 3.00km circuit.
Practice 1, the sole running for primary drivers before today’s Armor All Qualifying session, starts at 1040 local time/AEST and runs for 40 minutes.
Results: Additional Drivers Practice
|1||88||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore ZB||1:24.1662|
|2||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore ZB||1:24.5551||0:00.3889|
|3||2||Mobil 1 MEGA Racing||Warren Luff||Holden Commodore ZB||1:25.2823||0:01.1161|
|4||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||James Moffat||Ford Mustang GT||1:25.4839||0:01.3177|
|5||22||Mobil 1 MEGA Racing||Jack Perkins||Holden Commodore ZB||1:26.0830||0:01.9168|
|6||99||Penrite Racing||Broc Feeney||Holden Commodore ZB||1:26.3283||0:02.1621|
|7||21||Team CoolDrive||Dean Canto||Holden Commodore ZB||1:26.6056||0:02.4394|
|8||5||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Thomas Randle||Ford Mustang GT||1:26.6093||0:02.4431|
|9||7||Plus Fitness Racing||Bryce Fullwood||Nissan Altima||1:26.7497||0:02.5835|
|10||4||SCT Logistics Racing||Jack Smith||Holden Commodore ZB||1:26.9183||0:02.7521|
|11||3||RABBLE.club Racing||Dean Fiore||Nissan Altima||1:26.9532||0:02.7870|
|12||19||Truck Assist TEKNO Racing||Jonathon Webb||Holden Commodore ZB||1:27.0312||0:02.8650|
|13||15||Castrol Racing||Dale Wood||Nissan Altima||1:27.0870||0:02.9208|
|14||78||Team Harvey Norman||Alex Rullo||Nissan Altima||1:27.9454||0:03.7792|
|15||6||Monster Energy Racing Team||Michael Caruso||Ford Mustang GT||1:28.0437||0:03.8775|
|16||9||Penrite Racing||Jordan Boys||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.7955||0:04.6293|
|17||8||Honda Motorcycles Dealer Team||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore ZB||1:28.8280||0:04.6618|
|18||23||Milwaukee Racing||Alex Davison||Ford Mustang GT||1:28.9253||0:04.7591|
|19||14||Freightliner Racing||Ashley Walsh||Holden Commodore ZB||1:29.2442||0:05.0780|
|20||18||Irwin Racing||Steven Richards||Holden Commodore ZB||1:31.9163||0:07.7501|
|21||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Tony D’Alberto||Ford Mustang GT||1:32.4028||0:08.2366|
|22||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Alexandre Premat||Ford Mustang GT||1:33.0445||0:08.8783|
|23||34||Boost Mobile Racing||Richard Muscat||Holden Commodore ZB||1:33.6474||0:09.4812|
|24||35||Bigmate Racing||Joel Heinrich||Holden Commodore ZB||1:33.9194||0:09.7532|
|25||33||Boost Mobile Racing||Chris Pither||Holden Commodore ZB||1:37.6748||0:13.5086|