Scott McLaughlin has taken half a second off the practice record as all seven Ford Mustang drivers finished in the top 10 in Practice 2 at The Bend.
While Chaz Mostert also got under Jamie Whincup’s year-old practice record at the South Australian circuit, he was still 0.5067s slower than the championship leader’s best on the opening day of the OTR SuperSprint.
Mustangs filled the top five while both Red Bull Holden Racing Team entries missed automatic passage to Part 2 of tomorrow’s knockout Armor All Qualifying session with Shane van Gisbergen 16th and Whincup 25th.
Anton De Pasquale and McLaughlin were both in the 1:49.8s after the very first flying laps before the latter had a good set of used tyres bolted onto the #17 Shell V-Power Mustang and set a 1:48.8046s.
McLaughlin moved the marker to a 1:48.1044s with a green set of tyres for his final run, easily eclipsing the 1:48.6498s which Whincup set in Armor All Qualifying for the Sunday race last year at The Bend Motorsport Park.
“We rolled with a really good car,” said McLaughlin.
“Obviously, it was a bogey round for us last year, so it was about getting out there and getting a balance straight away.
“We tried a couple of things in Practice 1, got to a nice balance, and just then it felt awesome. There’s not much that I can fault from it.”
Regarding the influence of the new-for-2019 Mustang on his performance, McLaughlin explained, “I think last year we were so low on the drag, we had to drop the wing so much to try and keep up with the Holdens down the straight and stuff. It was just crazy loose.
“I think we’ve made it better as well with how we are running our set-up and tyres and all that sort of stuff.”
Mostert was 19th when he jumped 17 positions in the final minute of the half-hour hit-out in his #55 Supercheap Auto Mustang, while Tickford team-mate Cameron Waters was ultimately almost a quarter of a second slower again in the #6 Monster Energy Mustang.
Fabian Coulthard finished fourth courtesy of a 1:48.9041s on his second run in the #12 DJR Team Penske entry.
Lee Holdsworth rounded out the top five in the #5 The Bottle-O Mustang, with David Reynolds, the first of the ZB Commodore runners, just one ten-thousandth of a second slower in the #9 Penrite Racing entry.
Rick Kelly (#15 Castrol Altima) rose to seventh in the final minute, bumping team-mate Andre Heimgartner (#7 Plus Fitness Altima) out of the top 10 in the process.
Heimgartner, however, was going to miss out regardless of the exploits of the Kelly Racing co-owner given that Mark Winterbottom (#18 Irwin Tools ZB Commodore) also pipped him, with the chequered flag out.
Winterbottom’s 1:49.3573s was still only good enough for 11th, however, meaning Anton De Pasquale (#99 Erebus ZB Commodore), Will Davison (#23 Milwaukee Mustang), and debutant Thomas Randle (#66 Scandia Mustang) also skip the first part of Armor All Qualifying for Race 21.
The Triple Eight Race Engineering entries were off the pace throughout, with van Gisbergen (#97 ZB Commodore) 1.5577s slower than McLaughlin.
Whincup had a late off in the #88 ZB Commodore, but believed that he was consigned to missing the top 10 anyway.
“We’re certainly not that bad (as bad as 25th),” he said.
“The car is quite difficult to drive, we just haven’t quite refined it at this stage of the weekend. We weren’t going to get the (top) 10.
“Coming into the second last corner, probably around the P15 sort of mark, and just locked the rears and ran wide.
“Talking to Shane, both cars are a little bit hard to drive at the moment. We got some work to do on set-up overnight to try and get a bit more pace.”
Next up for the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship field is Practice 3 tomorrow from 1000 local time/1030 AEST.
Results: Practice 2
|1||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Mustang GT||1:48.1044|
|2||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Mustang GT||1:48.6111||0:00.5067|
|3||6||Monster Energy Racing Team||Cameron Waters||Ford Mustang GT||1:48.8585||0:00.7541|
|4||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Mustang GT||1:48.9041||0:00.7997|
|5||5||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Lee Holdsworth||Ford Mustang GT||1:49.0091||0:00.9047|
|6||9||Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||1:49.0092||0:00.9048|
|7||15||Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:49.1336||0:01.0292|
|8||99||Penrite Racing||Anton De Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||1:49.1605||0:01.0561|
|9||23||Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Mustang GT||1:49.2005||0:01.0961|
|10||66||Scandia Racing||Thomas Randle||Ford Mustang GT||1:49.3223||0:01.2179|
|11||18||Irwin Racing||Mark Winterbottom||Holden Commodore ZB||1:49.3573||0:01.2529|
|12||7||Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||1:49.3615||0:01.2571|
|13||21||Team CoolDrive||Macauley Jones||Holden Commodore ZB||1:49.3690||0:01.2646|
|14||14||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||1:49.3699||0:01.2655|
|15||8||X Convenience Mobil Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||1:49.5618||0:01.4574|
|16||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||1:49.6621||0:01.5577|
|17||78||Team Harvey Norman||Simona De Silvestro||Nissan Altima||1:49.7170||0:01.6126|
|18||34||Boost Mobile Racing||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||1:49.7175||0:01.6131|
|19||35||Unit Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Holden Commodore ZB||1:49.8398||0:01.7354|
|20||2||Mobil 1 MEGA Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||1:49.9063||0:01.8019|
|21||3||RABBLE.club Racing||Garry Jacobson||Nissan Altima||1:50.1120||0:02.0076|
|22||4||SCT Logistics Racing||Jack Smith||Holden Commodore ZB||1:50.7817||0:02.6773|
|23||33||Boost Mobile Racing||Richie Stanaway||Holden Commodore ZB||1:51.0267||0:02.9223|
|24||22||Mobil 1 MEGA Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||1:51.1077||0:03.0033|
|25||88||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||1:51.4785||0:03.3741|
|26||19||Truck Assist TEKNO Racing||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||1:52.0324||0:03.9280|