Shane van Gisbergen set the fastest ever Supercars lap round Pukekohe during the second practice session in New Zealand.
In what was a one-again, off-again 30-minute session, van Gisbergen wasted little time getting down to business. The Kiwi fired out of the box at the beginning to go top with a 1m02.905s.
He stuck with it too, lowering the benchmark to 1m02.680s on the next lap, before going quicker again the next time around with a 1m02.461s – a new practice lap record, and a time that proved unbeatable.
Mark Winterbottom went closest to chasing down van Gisbergen, the Prodrive Racing driver encouraged by being just 0.07s off the points leader.
“I’m enjoying it. The car is actually pretty nice to drive,” said Winterbottom. “It’s a good turnaround from two weeks ago [on the Gold Coast], we’ve improved it a bit. I’m having fun, it’s nice to be back at the front.”
Nissan’s Michael Caruso emerged from a red flag-interrupted second half of the session with the third quickest time, a 1m02.584s, while Scott McLaughlin recovered from a trip backwards into the Turn 4 wall midway through to end up fourth with a 1m02.743s
Former Pukekohe winner Jason Bright popped up in fifth in the BJR Commodore, while van Gisbergen’s Red Bull teammate Jamie Whincup was sixth fastest – although he was lucky to take part at all after a wild spin at the beginning of his first lap, which saw him narrowly escape high-speed contact with the wall on the main straight.
While Whincup got lucky, others were less so. There were three red flags throughout the session, the first coming after both Nick Percat and David Reynolds spread foam signage all over the front straight.
Action resumed after it was cleaned up, but a second stoppage came minutes later after McLaughlin and Will Davison both slipped on gravel kicked up on the apex of Turn 3 and backed into the Turn 4 wall, within a minute of each other.
There was a third and final stoppage after Percat bogged his LD Motorsport Commodore at Turn 8, while Turn 3/4 continued to be troublesome in the closing minutes, causing both James Moffat and Reynolds problems.
“They’ve put sand for us to play in behind the kerbs here,” explained Davison. “It was packed in pretty tight yesterday, but you sort of know everyone would be driving through it and it was going to bring a lot of mess onto the track. I’m not surprised at all [that it caused issues], it was catching a few of us out.”
Despite a couple of moments, Reynolds – who topped this morning’s first session – finished up seventh, behind the HRT Commodore of Garth Tander.
James Courtney and Dale Wood rounded out the Top 10, while Craig Lowndes, a man still looking for his first win at Pukekohe, was just 17th quickest.