Kiwi and Stone Bros. racer, Shane Van Gisbergen took advantage of the conditions at Phillip Island yesterday and finished on top after the third practice session for the V8 Supercar L&H 500 with a 1 min 32.7 sec lap. Throughout the day the sun ...
Kiwi and Stone Bros. racer, Shane Van Gisbergen took advantage of the conditions at Phillip Island yesterday and finished on top after the third practice session for the V8 Supercar L&H 500 with a 1 min 32.7 sec lap. Throughout the day the sun managed to break through occasionally, however, the rain and wind ensured drivers did not push their machines with today's qualifying ahead of them.
Van Gisbergen's partner for the first enduro of the year is fellow compatriot John McIntyre, who indicated that he was more than pleased with the result, but said, "There is a fair bit of racing before the weekend is over."
Behind the Kiwi connection were former team mates Craig Lowndes and Mark Skaife who have come together after 10 years to form one of the most formidable combinations since the new format changed, preventing Lowndes and his regular Team Vodafone partner Jamie Whincup possibly chalking up a fourth win.
Lowndes may have the edge over Whincup, but as we have come to see most weekends Whincup always manages to pull out that extra tenth when required, and he has proved that over the last three seasons. Whincup was satisfied with his fifth placing and said that he had all the confidence in his co- driver Steve Owen, who has been one of the first Holden drivers sought when the long distance races come around each year.
Skaife looked enthusiastic in the garage continually conversing with team boss Roland Dane and no doubt providing valuable data following his recent test day where he spent most of it in the new Holden Commodore. Both drivers were pleased with their efforts after day one with Lowndes quipping, "Tomorrow is a different story with qualifying and then the short races following that."
It was up to Rick Kelly, the younger of the Kelly Gang in the black Jack Daniels Commodore to grab third ahead of fast finishing Fabian Coulthard and Craig Baird in the Bundaberg Red Racing Holden who could be the dark horse come Sunday.
Each driver has a 20-minute qualifying session that will determine where they start in their respective 40-lap qualifying races later today. Series leader James Courtney dropped three spots to sixth fastest after the earlier sessions and wasn't fazed with the result. He and partner and long time DJR co-driver Warren Luff believe they will be there when it counts. Later today each driver will race in a 20 minute event and their combined results will determine where they end up on the grid for Sundays 500 kilometre race, the lead up to the Bathurst 1000 in October.