Cat Racing duo John Bowe and Jim Richards faced wet and treacherous conditions on the opening day of practice for this weekend's FAI 1000 at Mount Panorama, Bathurst.

With rain lashing the Bathurst circuit and low cloud descending on the mountain, Bowe was amongst the early pacesetters in the wet conditions.

He later switched to Richards who concentrated on running full fuel loads towards the end the session.

They were 13th on the timesheet after the morning session, but were unable to improve in the afternoon when the session was cancelled.

Race officials attempted to start the session, but were forced to abort after the Commodore of female driver Melinda Price crashed heavily.

"The car felt quite good in the morning session, but it was difficult to get a clear lap," Bowe said.

"The track was a lot worse in the afternoon and I really only got one lap in before they stopped the session.

"It looks like we will have more of the same weather tomorrow so we will have to start work on a qualifying set-up for the wet.

"It is expected to clear up a bit on Sunday, but the tough aspect will be we would have lost two days in trying to get the car set-up for a dry day.

"It is the same for everybody, so we just have to put our head down and work on making the car as good as we can."

Despite their years of experience in wet conditions, neither Bowe or Richards is hoping for a wet race on Sunday.

"JB and I have done well here in the wet before, but it is certainly not a lot of fun," Richards said.

"The biggest problem is the spray from the other cars make visibility very tough.

"You also get little rivers of water running across the track which can catch you out very easily.

"The track safety has improved significantly over the years.

"Twenty years ago if you can off the road in the wet, you could end up running through a wire fence and finishing in somebody's front yard.

"Today we have safety barriers lining the entire circuit which is a lot safer."

Final practice will be staged tomorrow morning with qualifying for the top 50% scheduled for 1.05pm tomorrow. The top ten qualifiers will then graduate to Saturday's Top Ten Shoot-out. <pre> PRACTICE ONE 1. - Lowndes/Skaife (Holden) - 2:30.760 2. - Perkins/Ingall (Holden) - 2:20.761 3. - Gardner/Bates (Ford) - 2:31.296 4. - Tander/Bargwanna (Holden) - 2:31.938 5. - Longhurst/Besnard (Ford) - 2:32.644 6. - Ellery/Stokell (Ford) - 2:32.687 7. - Radisich/Bright (Ford) - 2:33.104 8. - Tratt/A. Jones (Ford) - 2:33.394 9. - Weel/Crick (Ford) - 2:33.457 10. - Johnson/McLean (Ford) - 2:33.462 13th - BOWE/RICHARDS (FORD) - 2:33.927

TIMETABLE:

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17 9.30am-11.00am - Practice 1.05pm-1.50pm - Qualifying (Top 50%)

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 18 9.55am-10.10am - Warm-up Top Ten 10.25am-11.05am - V8 Top Ten 4.00pm-5.00pm - V8 Practice

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 19 7.15am-7.35am - V8 Warm-up 10.00am-4.30pm - FAI 1000