Lowndes edges D’Alberto in second co-driver session

Craig Lowndes

Craig Lowndes has pipped Tony D’Alberto to top spot in the second co-driver session at the Penrite Oil Sandown 500.

Lowndes finished the half-hour third practice session of the event with a fastest lap of 1:07.8356s in Jamie Whincup’s #888 Red Bull HRT ZB Commodore, 0.0577s slower than the record pace which David Reynolds set in Practice 2.

D’Alberto was only 0.0600s off Lowndes’ pace in Fabian Coulthard’s #12 Shell V-Power Mustang, while Dale Wood was also within a tenth of #888 in Rick Kelly’s #15 Castrol Altima.

In a session delayed by 50 minutes due to an earlier crash in a support category, Garth Tander (#97 Red Bull HRT ZB Commodore) was fastest through the first runs with a 1:07.9537s, which had him 0.3678s clear of second placed Alex Davison (#23 Milwaukee Mustang).

D’Alberto made two steps up from the bottom end of the field to second position during his second run, slotting in at 0.2285s behind Tander as signs of rain became visible.

Several more joined the DJR Team Penske driver at similar or marginally better lap times through the middle 10 minutes of the session, before it become much tighter at the point end of the field.

Less than a tenth of a second separated Tander from D’Alberto ahead of the final runs, with those two split by Lowndes in second and Will Brown (#99 Penrite ZB Commodore) in third.

Wood went fastest with a 1:07.9484s on his final run before Lowndes rolled out a 1:07.9169s despite a slightly nervous arrival at the final complex of corners.

They both went quicker again, as did D’Alberto, leaving #888 on top from #12 and #15, with Wood 0.0989s shy of the very fastest lap.

“Obviously (there was) that long delay and we got told a rain shower was coming so we were all hustling at the start to get some laps in,” explained Lowndes.

“We made the car better over that session, there’s no doubt about that, and that’s always what I’ve loved to do is develop a car.

“We went up on springs, we went down on springs, we played with shocks, we did everything and we got a bit of balance to what we wanted and we put a set of tyres on which Jamie had previously run.

“It took three laps though to still get the tyre pressures and the balance right, but yeah we were hustling it.”

Tander had no advance on his first run but that was still good enough for fourth, ahead of Jack Perkins (#22 Mobil 1 ZB Commodore), Ash Walsh (#14 Freightliner ZB Commodore), Brown, and James Moffat (#55 Supercheap Auto Mustang).

Alexandre Premat broke the beam at 1:08.0750s near the end to put the #17 Shell V-Power Mustang ninth all told, having been as high as second position, while Thomas Randle (#5 The Bottle-O Mustang) rounded out the top 10.

Luke Youlden was 14th in Reynolds’ #9 Penrite ZB Commodore, although still within half a second of Lowndes’ benchmark.

The final, half-hour practice session, open to all drivers, is due to start tomorrow at 1040 local time/AEDT.

Results: Practice 3

Pos Num Team/Sponsor Driver Car Fastest lap Split
1 888 Red Bull Holden Racing Team C.Lowndes Holden Commodore ZB 1:07.8356
2 12 Shell V-Power Racing Team T.D’Alberto Ford Mustang GT 1:07.8956 0:00.0600
3 15 Castrol Racing D.Wood Nissan Altima 1:07.9345 0:00.0989
4 97 Red Bull Holden Racing Team G.Tander Holden Commodore ZB 1:07.9537 0:00.1181
5 22 Mobil 1 Racing J.Perkins Holden Commodore ZB 1:07.9790 0:00.1434
6 14 Freightliner Racing A.Walsh Holden Commodore ZB 1:08.0287 0:00.1931
7 99 Penrite Racing W.Brown Holden Commodore ZB 1:08.0297 0:00.1941
8 55 Supercheap Auto Racing J.Moffat Ford Mustang GT 1:08.0480 0:00.2124
9 17 Shell V-Power Racing Team A.Premat Ford Mustang GT 1:08.0750 0:00.2394
10 5 The Bottle-O Racing Team T.Randle Ford Mustang GT 1:08.1312 0:00.2956
11 6 Monster Energy Racing Team M.Caruso Ford Mustang GT 1:08.1663 0:00.3307
12 2 Mobil 1 Racing W.Luff Holden Commodore ZB 1:08.2387 0:00.4031
13 7 Plus Fitness Racing B.Fullwood Nissan Altima 1:08.2661 0:00.4305
14 9 Penrite Racing L.Youlden Holden Commodore ZB 1:08.2680 0:00.4324
15 23 Milwaukee Racing A.Davison Ford Mustang GT 1:08.3215 0:00.4859
16 34 Boost Mobile Racing R.Muscat Holden Commodore ZB 1:08.4159 0:00.5803
17 18 Irwin Racing S.Richards Holden Commodore ZB 1:08.4408 0:00.6052
18 33 Boost Mobile Racing C.Pither Holden Commodore ZB 1:08.4585 0:00.6229
19 3 RABBLE.club Racing D.Fiore Nissan Altima 1:08.5086 0:00.6730
20 35 Bigmate Racing J.Smith Holden Commodore ZB 1:08.6010 0:00.7654
21 8 Fujitsu Racing T.Blanchard Holden Commodore ZB 1:08.6137 0:00.7781
22 56 Boost Mobile Kostecki Brothers J.Kostecki Holden Commodore ZB 1:08.7140 0:00.8784
23 21 Team CoolDrive D.Canto Holden Commodore ZB 1:08.8202 0:00.9846
24 19 Truck Assist TEKNO Racing J.Webb Holden Commodore ZB 1:08.8453 0:01.0097
25 78 Team Harvey Norman A.Rullo Nissan Altima 1:08.9345 0:01.0989

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