Easy as Pye
- By Kassie Gadeke
- Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
DJR Team Penske driver Scott Pye has topped practice by half a second at the ITM 500 Auckland this morning.
Pye ran towards the front of the field yesterday after qualifying third but was unable to earn his first podium finish.
Racing the MAN Trucks Ford Falcon FG X - with team boss Roger Penske watching on - Pye believes the team made some gains yesterday and overnight that will help on track today.
"We made some changes yesterday - in the second race it felt like we had a much better car, but we didn't have the track position," Pye said after the 15-minute session.
"Half a second around here is a pretty big gap, I was pretty surprised with that ... it's a good gap I hope we can keep something for qually."
Tyre use has been a question but Pye was not giving away what rubber he had to run in the upcoming qualifying session.
"We're in a good position for qually," was all he would say on TV broadcast.
Will Davison came home second in the session, ahead of the first Kiwi in the train in Scott McLaughlin.
Davison's Erebus teammate Ash Walsh was fourth, with Jason Bright fifth in the Brad Jones Racing Commodore.
Bright's car had an engine change overnight after his Team BOC Commodore stopped on track during the final lap of the first race yesterday.
Craig Lowndes' repaired Commodore featured in the top 10, the fan favourite finishing seventh overall as the team shook down the car. They worked until 6am this morning to piece the Holden back together after yesterday's tyre explosion and subsequent damage.
Yesterday's first race winner and Jason Richards Memorial Trophy winner Jamie Whincup finished ninth, with Championship leader Mark Winterbottom slotting in behind in 10th.
The V8 Supercars will qualify at 11.20am ADST for this afternoon's 200km mixed tyre race.