Slade fastest after rapid end to Supercars test
Brad Jones Racing driver Tim Slade finished the official pre-season Supercars test on top of the times, after an intense end to the afternoon session.
A flurry of quick times shook up the order during a 10-minute extension to the original four-hour session, added after new GRM recruit James Golding ran off track inside the last 10 minutes of regular time and halted play.
It was during that happy hour that Slade banged in the quickest time of the entire day, becoming the first and only driver under the 1m29s mark with a 1m28.615s on his final flying lap.
The closest to joining Slade under the 29s mark was DJR Team Penske's Fabian Coulthard, who jumped to second in the dying seconds with a 1m29.105s.
Michael Caruso was third fastest, the Nissan driver coming from outside the Top 10 in that final 10 minutes with a 1m29.114s. That time just eclipsed the lap that put him on top of the morning session.
Shane van Gisbergen made good use of the qualifying simulations to slot into fourth, while Nick Percat capped off a promising day for BJR with the fifth quickest time.
That dropped long-time pacesetter Scott McLaughlin down to sixth. The title favourite was actually top of the times right up until that 10-minute extension went green, thanks to his 1m29.280s from the first hour.
He wasn't there to enjoy the faster running at the end of the session, though; just after the one-hour mark the Kiwi ended up in the tyre wall at Turn 1, a tyre blowout leading to what he described as the biggest head-on impact he's ever had.
Jack Le Brocq and Jamie Whincup both improved late, but still couldn't best McLaughlin's early time and had to settle for seventh and eighth respectively.
That left Tekno driver Le Brocq as the best-performing rookie, as was the case in the morning session.
Cam Waters was the best of the Tickford drivers in ninth, one spot clear of teammate Mark Winterbottom – who, remarkably, was sitting second fastest before the time extension.
James Courtney and Todd Hazelwood fared even worse, being dumped from third and fourth respectively to 12th and 13th as the fast times rolled in.
The afternoon session proved tough for frontrunners David Reynolds and Chaz Mostert; the Erebus Commodore was just 21st quickest, while Tickford star Mostert ended up down in 25th.
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