Darwin Supercars: Kelly trumps Triple Eight in first practice

A last-gasp green tyre run helped Nissan driver Rick Kelly beat a trio of Triple Eight Holdens to top spot in the first practice session at Hidden Valley.

Darwin Supercars: Kelly trumps Triple Eight in first practice

Despite a sticking throttle, Kelly was able to make the most of some green rubber to fire from outside the Top 20 to number one spot with just 50 seconds of the 45 minute-session remaining.

It was Triple Eight driver Jamie Whincup who was first to break into the 1m06s bracket, knocking early leader James Moffat off top spot with a 1m06.921s on the 21-minute mark.

That time lasted just five minutes, before DJR Team Penske’s Fabian Coulthard took over with a 1m06.771s.

The next major shakeup came after a red flag with a little under five minutes to go. Times tumbled on improved rubber, Shane van Gisbergen to first of the big movers to jump from outside the Top 10 to top spot with a 1m06.606s, teammate Whincup improving to a 1m06.614s at almost the same time to slot into second.

Craig Lowndes then split the Red Bull Holdens with with a 1m06.6111s, before Rick Kelly trumped everyone with a green tyre run that saw him jump from 21st to first with a 1m06.506s, despite the Nissan driver struggling with a throttle issue.

“We ran a new set of tyres, and I don’t think anybody else did,” he said.

“There’s a lot of time in the car still, we’ve only done a couple of runs here today so there is more to come.

“There was a little bit of a throttle drama; at that critical point when you’re trying to crack a bit of throttle it is sticky, and then it breaks through very aggressively. So it wasn’t the cleanest of laps.”

Lowndes ended up second having jumped van Gisbergen with a second lap on his final run, while Chaz Mostert and Lee Holdsworth both improved late to finish up behind the Red Bulls in fifth and sixth.

Coulthard ended up seventh having not improved on his final run despite setting a session-best first sector, followed by Garth Tander, David Reynolds (who also didn’t improve after the red flag), and Cam Waters.

Scott McLaughlin was the most noteworthy omission from the Top 10, the DJR Team Penske driver just 14th fastest.

Jason Bright finished up down in 18th after causing the red flag with a little under five minutes to go. The veteran, making his 19th start at Hidden Valley, fired off at Turn 11, backing into the wall and causing plenty of cosmetic damage to his Prodrive Ford.

ClaDriverCarTimeGap
1 15 australia  Rick Kelly  Nissan Altima 1'06.5061  
2 888 australia  Craig Lowndes  Holden Commodore VF 1'06.5677 0.0616
3 97 new_zealand  Shane van Gisbergen  Holden Commodore VF 1'06.6065 0.1004
4 88 australia  Jamie Whincup  Holden Commodore VF 1'06.6141 0.1080
5 55 australia  Chaz Mostert  Ford Falcon FG-X 1'06.7543 0.2482
6 18 australia  Lee Holdsworth  Holden Commodore VF 1'06.7671 0.2610
7 12 new_zealand  Fabian Coulthard  Ford Falcon FG-X 1'06.7711 0.2650
8 33 australia  Garth Tander  Holden Commodore VF 1'06.7744 0.2683
9 9 australia  David Reynolds  Holden Commodore VF 1'06.8110 0.3049
10 6 australia  Cameron Waters  Ford Falcon FG-X 1'06.8396 0.3335
11 19 australia  Will Davison  Holden Commodore VF 1'06.8631 0.3570
12 5 australia  Mark Winterbottom  Ford Falcon FG-X 1'06.9084 0.4023
13 14 australia  Tim Slade  Holden Commodore VF 1'06.9500 0.4439
14 17 new_zealand  Scott McLaughlin  Ford Falcon FG-X 1'07.0024 0.4963
15 8 australia  Nick Percat  Holden Commodore VF 1'07.0353 0.5292
16 23 australia  Michael Caruso  Nissan Altima 1'07.0732 0.5671
17 34 australia  James Moffat  Holden Commodore VF 1'07.1296 0.6235
18 56 australia  Jason Bright  Ford Falcon FG-X 1'07.1669 0.6608
19 3 australia  Cameron McConville Holden Commodore VF 1'07.2227 0.7166
20 7 australia  Todd Kelly  Nissan Altima 1'07.2421 0.7360
21 99 australia  Dale Wood  Holden Commodore VF 1'07.2458 0.7397
22 4 australia  Macauley Jones  Holden Commodore VF 1'07.3621 0.8560
23 21 australia  Tim Blanchard  Holden Commodore VF 1'07.3920 0.8859
24 22 australia  James Courtney  Holden Commodore VF 1'07.4512 0.9451
25 2 australia  Scott Pye  Holden Commodore VF 1'07.4580 0.9519
27 62 australia  Alex Rullo  Holden Commodore VF 1'07.7512 1.2451
28 78 switzerland  Simona de Silvestro  Nissan Altima 1'07.8917 1.3856
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