FPR shows that they’re ready to come out swinging to defend their title.
In a ‘ninth-inning’ type run, it was Mark Winterbottom’s co-driver, Steve Owen, who put the Pepsi Max Ford Performance Racing (FPR) Falcon on top with a 2:06.777 towards the end of the co-driver practice session. This bodes well for the #5 team as ‘Frosty’ looks to put FPR on the top step once again for back-to-back wins for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
Coming in second for the practice session was Fabian Coulthard’s co-driver, Luke Youlden. He was the closest to Owen in time as he posted a 2:06.792.
Scott McLaughlin’s co-driver, Alex Premat, had a strong run in the #33 Volvo as he finished up the event in third with a time of 2:06.888. He was the final co-driver to post a time in the 2:06s.
Taz Douglas brought the #360 Nissan hornet up to fourth with a 2:07.191. Dean Canto continues the stellar pace of the Bottle-O Ford Falcon by completing the top-five with a 2:07.308.
Other co-drivers of note were Steve Richards in the #888 car of Craig Lowndes. He posted a 2:07.550 and finished up the event in 10th. Greg Murphy, who topped the co-driver practice session yesterday, was found towards the back today. It was rumored, however, that the Holden Racing Team (HRT) crew was experimenting with full fuel loads. Also, Warren Luff continued the woes of the HRT car #2 as he posted a 2:08.097 which put him towards the back.
The track is unpredictable
It’s been a bit of a mysterious track of late due to the recent track resurfacing. Rear-end grip has been so unpredictable that many co-drivers have even stated that they’re 'scared' to be in the cars for fear that they’ll send it into the wall as Garth Tander most notably did yesterday.
While the co-drivers were out on track, Jamie Whincup commented that it was a 'very difficult condition' out there. He emphasized that all teams had thrown out last year’s playbook and are basically starting from scratch.
On that note, Whincup’s teammate, Paul Dumbrell, held the lead during practice for a majority of the event. As the event came to the closing stages, however, many drivers mounted an enormous comeback which Dumbrell was unable to respond to. Once again, the #1 Red Bull Racing Australia Commodore found itself mid-pack in a dismal 16th position finish.
More woes for Dick Johnson Racing
There was trouble for the #16 car as Scott Pye’s co-driver, Ash Walsh got sideways and went into the fence after locking the rear wheels. The damage appeared to be only cosmetic but it will nonetheless keep the crew busy for the time being.
The fifth practice session is set to begin later today with qualifying to begin shortly thereafter.