The competition is closer than ever as parity seems to have final come into play.
Prodrive Racing (Australia) driver, Mark Winterbottom, gave the new Ford Falcon FG X a warm welcome to the series by completing the final ‘SuperTest’ session on the top step. With a time of 1:29.580, ‘Frosty’ and his crew seemed to have gotten the setup they were looking for after struggling for pace all day.
Winterbottom’s closest competition was Holden Racing Team (HRT) driver, James Courtney, who was seated on the top-step for the final half of the session before being bumped into P2 by the Ford driver. Fabian Coulthard took the final step of the test-day podium with Will Davison and returning two-time champion, Marcos Ambrose, respectively rounding out the top-five.
Completing the top-ten were David Reynolds, Ash Walsh, Lee Holdsworth, Todd Kelly and Garth Tander.
Parity, at last
Parity finally seems to be coming into effect. Over the course of the final test session, there never seemed to be a dominant team, manufacturer or driver. Sure, there were fast lap times but they were grouped very close together and they weren’t always from names we typically associate with terms such as ‘fastest lap’ or even ‘top-five’.
Drivers such as Coulthard, Davison and Reynolds were among such drivers who went to the top early in the session and held their ground for quite some time. We also saw Walsh slip his new Erebus Mercedes into the top-five. Additionally, we witnessed an excellent showing from returning champion, Marcos Ambrose, who proved that he will be a force to be reckoned with in 2015.
On the flip-side, we saw six-time champion, Jamie Whincup, struggling for pace and finishing in 23rd along with his Red Bull teammate, Craig Lowndes, who finished in 20th. Prodrive Racing (Australia) drivers, Chaz Mostert and Winterbottom, also sat around the bottom-ten for the majority of the session before the latter’s flying lap put him in P1. Other top drivers such as Scott McLaughlin and Shane van Gisbergen also didn’t crack the top-ten.
As important as these test sessions have been for the teams, they seemed to have been doubly important for the fans. With memories of a lop-sided season still fresh on their minds from last year, today proved that the 2015 season will truly be anyone’s game.
Be sure to stay tuned in as the next ‘SuperShootout’ session is scheduled to begin later today.