Phillip Island Supercars: Courtney fastest in opening practice

Phillip Island Supercars: Courtney fastest in opening practice
Andrew van Leeuwen
By: Andrew van Leeuwen
Apr 20, 2018, 2:21 AM

James Courtney beat Scott McLaughlin to top spot in the opening Supercars practice session of the weekend at Phillip Island.

It was Holdens on top across the 40-minute session, Scott Pye leading the early running with a 1m31.465s set inside the first 10 minutes.

David Reynolds then went quickest with a 1m31.358s shortly afterwards, before Courtney jumped to the top with a 1m30.936s with 10 minutes of the session left to run.

With less than three minutes to go Courtney improved to a 1m30.646s, good enough to secure P1.

"It’s been great. We rolled out this morning and straight away the thing went up to the top," said Courtney.

"The platform feels really quite stable, quite consistent in these long, loaded corners. With that stability through the corners it gives us drivers a lot better idea of the grip level you’ve got, so then you can use all of it.

"In previous years here the cars have been really quite nervous. I couldn’t be happier at the moment.

"I don’t know what everyone else was doing, but our car feels good."

McLaughlin was second fastest, just 0.03s off Courtney, but it was hardly a trouble-free session for the Penske star. He fell victim to the tyre-killing nature of the Phillip Island layout, suffering a front-right failure midway through the session while on a race run.

"We were doing a race run and you want to find out where things are," said DJR Team Penske team principal Ryan Story.

"It wasn’t exactly the best set of tyres that we brought with us either. We know where that limit is now, by default, and we learnt a little bit there."

Shane van Gisbergen was third fastest, jumping from well outside the Top 10 with his final lap. Triple Eight teammate Craig Lowndes did likewise, settling into fourth with a late effort.

Cam Waters was the best of the Tickford Fords in fifth, ahead of Nick Percat and Pye, who was shuffled back to seventh.

Fabian Coulthard was eighth quickest, Reynolds ninth after never improving on that early lap, with Garth Tander rounding out the Top 10.

Todd Hazelwood was the surprise of the session with the 11th quickest time, while Rick Kelly was the best placed Nissan in 12th.

There were some big names outside the top half of the field, with points leader Jamie Whincup just 17th fastest. Chaz Mostert was even further back, finishing 19th after an off at Southern Loop early in the session.

1 25 australia  James Courtney  Holden Commodore ZB 1'30.6461  
2 17 new_zealand  Scott McLaughlin  Ford Falcon FG X 1'30.6765 0.0304
3 97 new_zealand  Shane van Gisbergen  Holden Commodore ZB 1'30.7240 0.0779
4 888 australia  Craig Lowndes  Holden Commodore ZB 1'30.7565 0.1104
5 6 australia  Cameron Waters  Ford Falcon FG X 1'30.7798 0.1337
6 8 australia  Nick Percat  Holden Commodore ZB 1'31.0308 0.3847
7 2 australia  Scott Pye  Holden Commodore ZB 1'31.0386 0.3925
8 12 new_zealand  Fabian Coulthard  Ford Falcon FG X 1'31.2631 0.6170
9 9 australia  David Reynolds  Holden Commodore ZB 1'31.3582 0.7121
10 33 australia  Garth Tander  Holden Commodore ZB 1'31.3796 0.7335
11 35 australia  Todd Hazelwood  Ford Falcon FG X 1'31.5911 0.9450
12 15 australia  Rick Kelly  Nissan Altima 1'31.6025 0.9564
13 18 australia  Lee Holdsworth  Holden Commodore ZB 1'31.6720 1.0259
14 78 switzerland  Simona de Silvestro  Nissan Altima 1'31.6979 1.0518
15 230 australia  Will Davison  Ford Falcon FG X 1'31.7027 1.0566
16 5 australia  Mark Winterbottom  Ford Falcon FG X 1'31.7103 1.0642
17 1 australia  Jamie Whincup  Holden Commodore ZB 1'31.7505 1.1044
18 99 australia  Anton de Pasquale  Holden Commodore ZB 1'31.7641 1.1180
19 55 australia  Chaz Mostert  Ford Falcon FG X 1'31.8199 1.1738
20 56 new_zealand  Richie Stanaway  Ford Falcon FG X 1'31.8880 1.2419
21 7 new_zealand  Andre Heimgartner  Nissan Altima 1'31.9420 1.2959
22 23 australia  Michael Caruso  Nissan Altima 1'31.9484 1.3023
23 34 australia  James Golding  Holden Commodore ZB 1'32.1606 1.5145
24 14 australia  Tim Slade  Holden Commodore ZB 1'32.3757 1.7296
25 21 australia  Tim Blanchard  Holden Commodore ZB 1'32.4100 1.7639
26 19 australia  Jack Le Brocq  Holden Commodore ZB 1'32.5306 1.8845
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