Perth Supercars: Whincup fastest, McLaughlin forced into Q1

Jamie Whincup topped a frantic wet-dry final practice session at Barbagallo Raceway, while Scott McLaughlin will have to go the long way in qualifying after missing an automatic Q2 spot.

Morning showers meant damp conditions to start the 20-minute session, with times hanging around 61-second mark early on as most of the field circulated on wet tyres.

Six minutes in Tim Blanchard dropped into the 60-second bracket on a slick tyre, sparking a mass change to the dry weather rubber.

The first half-representative time came right at the midway point of the session, Nick Percat going top with a 57.916s, before improving to a 56.912s two minutes later.

His Brad Jones Racing teammate Tim Slade was next to have a stint on top thanks to a 56.855s, although he was quickly displaced by rookie Anton De Pasquale's 56.833s with just under seven minutes to go.

With five minutes to go McLaughlin made his move, going from the bottom of the field to a top with a 56.619s.

The next change came at the beginning of the 'Happy Hour', Rick Kelly first to take on a last-gasp green tyre run with a 56.222s with three minutes to go.

Shane van Gisbergen then went from outside the Top 20 to top spot with a 55.331s on his green run, before being replaced by teammate Whincup – who was dead last – with a 55.268s.

That proved to be the hammer blow, Whincup ending the session 0.04s clear of Chaz Mostert.

Will Davison improved on his final run to slot into third, which dropped van Gisbergen back to fourth.

BJR pair Nick Percat and Tim Slade ended up fifth and sixth with late improvements, with David Reynolds seventh.

Kelly, who had been top with three minutes to go, was shuffled all the way to the back of the field due to the flurry of late times, before jumping back to eighth on his final run.

Andre Heimgartner made it two Nissans in the Top 10 with the ninth quickest time, while James Golding grabbed the final automatic Q2 spot.

That meant McLaughlin missed out on Q2, yesterday's polesitter and race winner finishing 12th after initially being bumped out of the Top 10 by Golding's time.

"We didn't run greens, I don't know whether other people did or not," said McLaughlin. "Maybe we got caught out by that. I had a fair bit of push then, too.

"I'm confident we can come through on the three runs, but we just missed the boat there. You always want to be in Q2, but we didn't run the green set, so at least we've got a set of tyres up our sleeve. It's okay. We've just got one extra qualifying session we've got to get through."

McLaughlin isn't the only big name that will have to come through Q1 today. Mark Winterbottom, who finished second yesterday, was just 19th, and didn't even have tyre condition to blame.

"The weather didn't really help," he said. "I just didn't get the lap. The tyres were good, I just didn't get the lap. I dropped a wheel on the wet line on the exit and dropped a heap of time. Yeah, tough session. It's mixed up sort of grid now, so getting through the Top 6 will be tough."

The Walkinshaw Andretti United duo were even worse off, James Courtney and Scott Pye finishing up 25th and 26th respectively.

"To be honest I thought it was okay with the way the tyre was, what we had," explained Courtney. "It was good in the wet, we were up there. But then at the end there when everyone put on their better sets, their better sets were obviously better than ours.

"Would have been nice to be in that 10 so we didn't have to do that first part of quali, but the sun is out, it's a new day..."

ClaDriverCarTimeGap
1 1 australia  Jamie Whincup  Holden Commodore ZB 55.2686  
2 55 australia  Chaz Mostert  Ford Falcon FG X 55.3115 0.0429
3 400 australia  Will Davison  Ford Falcon FG X 55.3226 0.0540
4 97 new_zealand  Shane van Gisbergen  Holden Commodore ZB 55.3315 0.0629
5 8 australia  Nick Percat  Holden Commodore ZB 55.3442 0.0756
6 14 australia  Tim Slade  Holden Commodore ZB 55.3464 0.0778
7 9 australia  David Reynolds  Holden Commodore ZB 55.4220 0.1534
8 15 australia  Rick Kelly  Nissan Altima 55.5771 0.3085
9 7 new_zealand  Andre Heimgartner  Nissan Altima 55.5772 0.3086
10 34 australia  James Golding  Holden Commodore ZB 55.6000 0.3314
11 23 australia  Michael Caruso  Nissan Altima 55.6525 0.3839
12 17 new_zealand  Scott McLaughlin  Ford Falcon FG X 55.6849 0.4163
13 21 australia  Tim Blanchard  Holden Commodore ZB 55.7012 0.4326
14 18 australia  Lee Holdsworth  Holden Commodore ZB 55.7468 0.4782
15 99 australia  Anton de Pasquale  Holden Commodore ZB 55.7701 0.5015
16 56 new_zealand  Richie Stanaway  Ford Falcon FG X 55.7736 0.5050
17 888 australia  Craig Lowndes  Holden Commodore ZB 55.7991 0.5305
18 35 australia  Todd Hazelwood  Ford Falcon FG X 55.8020 0.5334
19 5 australia  Mark Winterbottom  Ford Falcon FG X 55.8580 0.5894
20 6 australia  Cameron Waters  Ford Falcon FG X 55.8600 0.5914
21 12 new_zealand  Fabian Coulthard  Ford Falcon FG X 55.9270 0.6584
22 33 australia  Garth Tander  Holden Commodore ZB 55.9612 0.6926
23 78 switzerland  Simona de Silvestro  Nissan Altima 56.0865 0.8179
24 19 australia  Jack Le Brocq  Holden Commodore ZB 56.1077 0.8391
25 25 australia  James Courtney  Holden Commodore ZB 56.1610 0.8924
26 2 australia  Scott Pye  Holden Commodore ZB 56.4883 1.2197
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About this article
Series Supercars
Event Barbagallo
Track Barbagallo Raceway
Article type Practice report