Garth Tander has topped a tightly contested opening practice session in changeable conditions at the Penrite Oil Sandown 500.
Patchy rain fell during the half-hour session, for co-drivers only, which caught out Craig Lowndes and others at Turn 4.
Tander, Lowndes’ team-mate at the Red Bull Holden Racing Team, ultimately set the pace with a 1:08.0361s, while Bryce Fullwood, Dale Wood, and Warren Luff all finished within a tenth of a second in second through fourth positions respectively.
Tander was prominent throughout, spending time in the lead on his first run before Thomas Randle clocked a 1:08.4947s in Lee Holdsworth’s #5 The Bottle-O Mustang.
Jack Perkins gradually crept to a 1:08.4098s during his second proper run in the #22 Mobil 1 ZB Commodore, before Wood closed to 0.0172s behind and Randle to 0.0808s back from the lead.
Tander was still within a tenth of a second of the best pace prior to the final runs, and bounced back from a minor off at Dandenong Road to subsequently go to a 1:08.1548s in Shane van Gisbergen’s #97 ZB Commodore.
Fullwood wheeled Andre Heimgartner’s #7 Plus Fitness Altima to a 1:08.0923s just before the chequered flag, only to be pipped by Tander again.
Wood (#15 Castrol Altima) ended up third in what was a frantic conclusion to proceedings, ahead of Walkinshaw Andretti United team-mates Luff (#2 Mobil 1 ZB Commodore) and Perkins.
Best of the Ford drivers was Tony D’Alberto at 0.1983s off the pace in Fabian Coulthard’s #12 Shell V-Power Mustang.
Rounding out the top 10 were James Moffat (#55 Supercheap Auto Mustang), Luke Youlden (#9 Penrtie ZB Commodore), Dean Fiore (#3 Rabble.Club Altima), and Alex Davison (#23 Milwaukee Mustang).
Alexandre Premat was 11th in the new #17 Shell V-Power Mustang and Randle one position further back.
Lowndes ended up 16th after his late spin, caused when he got the #888 ZB Commodore high on the Turn 3 exit kerb.
He stayed away from the barriers and Ash Walsh had what appeared to be an innocuous touch with the tyre wall when he made a similar mistake in the #14 Freightliner ZB Commodore.
Youlden had a spin at the same location very early in the session, which ran uninterrupted despite the tricky weather and drivers remaining on slicks.
Practice 2, a half-hour session for all drivers, starts at 1245 local time/AEDT.
Results: Practice 1
|1||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||G.Tander||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.0361|
|2||7||Plus Fitness Racing||B.Fullwood||Nissan Altima||1:08.0923||0:00.0562|
|3||15||Castrol Racing||D.Wood||Nissan Altima||1:08.1008||0:00.0647|
|4||2||Mobil 1 Racing||W.Luff||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.1323||0:00.0962|
|5||22||Mobil 1 Racing||J.Perkins||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.1854||0:00.1493|
|6||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||T.D’Alberto||Ford Mustang GT||1:08.2344||0:00.1983|
|7||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||J.Moffat||Ford Mustang GT||1:08.3724||0:00.3363|
|8||9||Penrite Racing||L.Youlden||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.4426||0:00.4065|
|9||3||RABBLE.club Racing||D.Fiore||Nissan Altima||1:08.4447||0:00.4086|
|10||23||Milwaukee Racing||A.Davison||Ford Mustang GT||1:08.4509||0:00.4148|
|11||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||A.Premat||Ford Mustang GT||1:08.4614||0:00.4253|
|12||5||The Bottle-O Racing Team||T.Randle||Ford Mustang GT||1:08.4906||0:00.4545|
|13||6||Monster Energy Racing Team||M.Caruso||Ford Mustang GT||1:08.5368||0:00.5007|
|14||99||Penrite Racing||W.Brown||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.5662||0:00.5301|
|15||33||Boost Mobile Racing||C.Pither||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.5788||0:00.5427|
|16||888||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||C.Lowndes||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.6371||0:00.6010|
|17||14||Freightliner Racing||A.Walsh||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.6383||0:00.6022|
|18||78||Team Harvey Norman||A.Rullo||Nissan Altima||1:08.6818||0:00.6457|
|19||8||Fujitsu Racing||T.Blanchard||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.6992||0:00.6631|
|20||34||Boost Mobile Racing||R.Muscat||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.6993||0:00.6632|
|21||21||Team CoolDrive||D.Canto||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.8781||0:00.8420|
|22||35||Bigmate Racing||J.Smith||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.9780||0:00.9419|
|23||19||Truck Assist TEKNO Racing||J.Webb||Holden Commodore ZB||1:09.2246||0:01.1885|
|24||18||Irwin Racing||S.Richards||Holden Commodore ZB||1:09.4004||0:01.3643|
|25||56||Boost Mobile Kostecki Brothers||J.Kostecki||Holden Commodore ZB||1:09.6447||0:01.6086|