Mark Winterbottom topped the first of three Friday V8 Supercars practice sessions on the streets of Townsville this morning.
The Prodrive Racing Australia driver popped up late in the session, his 1m13.612s with two minutes to go gapping the field by 0.233s – a huge margin given that the Top 13 were within a second of P1.
“It was good,” Winterbottom said.
“I pretty much did my qualifying time from last year in first practice, so we’ve made gains, which is nice. So far it feels pretty good.”
Tim Blanchard was another to improve late, the LD Motorsport driver the only other driver to get under the 1m14s mark with a 1m13.847s.
Holden Racing Team’s James Courtney wound up third, having led the way throughout the majority of the second half of the 30-minute sessions.
Shane van Gisbergen was fourth fastest, just over half a second behind Winterbottom, despite only completing six laps. The Kiwi was sidelined mid-way through the session due to a bad vibration that actually made him ill while driving.
Winterbottom’s team-mate Chaz Mostert was fifth fastest, Scott McLaughlin the best Volvo in sixth, while Michael Caruso and James Moffat led the charge for Nissan in seventh and eighth.
Will Davison was the best of the Erebus cars down in 14th, while it was another quiet session for Triple Eight, Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup 17th and 19th respectively.