Darwin Supercars: McLaughlin leads Whincup in final practice

Scott McLaughlin beat Jamie Whincup to top the final pre-qualifying Supercars practice session in Darwin.

The DJR Team Penske driver, who topped yesterday's second practice, effectively led the way throughout the 45-minute session.

He first went fastest nine minutes in with a 1m06.209s, a time that proved unbeatable until there was just three minutes to go. Even then McLaughlin was the only man capable of besting that lap, a 1m06.141s putting top spot beyond doubt.

"We did a couple of little changes, but we were happy yesterday, so we didn't want to over-do anything," said McLaughlin.

"It's nice to experiment a little bit before quali, and the track is getting hotter, so it's more like qualifying is going to be. To experiment now, and be in control of that, is nice. We're not chasing anything. We're pretty happy at the moment."

Whincup ended up second fastest, but unlike McLaughlin he wasn't a factor until the final few minutes. The Triple Eight driver was actually languishing down in 14th before his late 1m06.315s pushed him to the pointy end.

David Reynolds failed to make an late gains but still ended up third quickest, while James Courtney slotted into fourth with with around eight minutes to go.

Rick Kelly slipped back to fifth after setting his best time early, the Nissan driver followed by Tim Slade and Shane van Gisbergen.

Fabian Coulthard improved to eighth on his last run after a mostly quiet session, while Darwin rookie Anton De Pasquale was impressive on his way to ninth, ahead of legend Craig Lowndes.

It was a tough session for the lone wildcard entry in the field, Super2 regular Macauley Jones backing his BJR Holden into the Turn 11 wall right on the 30-minute mark. The recovery led to a 10-minute stoppage, Jones giving his crew a tight turnaround before qualifying this afternoon.

"I feel fine, I'm just a bit gutted for the crew," he said. "We've go a pretty damaged car.

"We were making some changes, we made some big changes last night and definitely improved the car. I just went in pretty hard and lost the rear of the car big time. It's one of those things, really."

It was also another tough session for Tickford Racing, Chaz Mostert the best of the team's four Fords down in 12th.

ClaDriverCarTimeGap
1 17 new_zealand  Scott McLaughlin  Ford Falcon FG X 1'06.1410  
2 1 australia  Jamie Whincup  Holden Commodore ZB 1'06.3157 0.1747
3 9 australia  David Reynolds  Holden Commodore ZB 1'06.4257 0.2847
4 25 australia  James Courtney  Holden Commodore ZB 1'06.4708 0.3298
5 15 australia  Rick Kelly  Nissan Altima 1'06.5122 0.3712
6 14 australia  Tim Slade  Holden Commodore ZB 1'06.5300 0.3890
7 97 new_zealand  Shane van Gisbergen  Holden Commodore ZB 1'06.5420 0.4010
8 12 new_zealand  Fabian Coulthard  Ford Falcon FG X 1'06.5554 0.4144
9 99 australia  Anton de Pasquale  Holden Commodore ZB 1'06.5557 0.4147
10 888 australia  Craig Lowndes  Holden Commodore ZB 1'06.5656 0.4246
11 2 australia  Scott Pye  Holden Commodore ZB 1'06.6078 0.4668
12 55 australia  Chaz Mostert  Ford Falcon FG X 1'06.6170 0.4760
13 33 australia  Garth Tander  Holden Commodore ZB 1'06.6249 0.4839
14 8 australia  Nick Percat  Holden Commodore ZB 1'06.6267 0.4857
15 23 australia  Michael Caruso  Nissan Altima 1'06.6546 0.5136
16 5 australia  Mark Winterbottom  Ford Falcon FG X 1'06.6737 0.5327
17 34 australia  James Golding  Holden Commodore ZB 1'06.6823 0.5413
18 7 new_zealand  Andre Heimgartner  Nissan Altima 1'06.7407 0.5997
19 78 switzerland  Simona de Silvestro  Nissan Altima 1'06.7543 0.6133
20 56 new_zealand  Richie Stanaway  Ford Falcon FG X 1'06.7992 0.6582
21 4 australia  Macauley Jones  Holden Commodore ZB 1'06.8147 0.6737
22 6 australia  Cameron Waters  Ford Falcon FG X 1'06.9243 0.7833
23 21 australia  Tim Blanchard  Holden Commodore ZB 1'06.9612 0.8202
24 230 australia  Will Davison  Ford Falcon FG X 1'06.9732 0.8322
25 400 australia  Lee Holdsworth  Holden Commodore ZB 1'07.0230 0.8820
26 19 australia  Jack Le Brocq  Holden Commodore ZB 1'07.1717 1.0307
27 35 australia  Todd Hazelwood  Ford Falcon FG X 1'07.3682 1.2272
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About this article
Series Supercars
Event Hidden Valley
Track Hidden Valley Raceway
Article type Practice report