Falcons fly in final Barbagallo practice
- By Stefan Bartholomaeus
- Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
Shell V-Power Racing's Scott McLaughlin led a cast of five Ford Falcons at the top of the order in final practice at the Perth SuperSprint.
Many spent the bulk of the 45 minutes focussing on race runs before undertaking a qualifying simulation in the closing stages.
Lee Holdsworth sat atop the order heading into the final five minutes before Rick Kelly, Jamie Whincup, Fabian Coulthard and eventually McLaughlin improved the benchmark.
McLaughlin’s time of 54.69s further lowered the practice record set by Shane van Gisbergen yesterday.
“The car was awesome. It was a lot better than yesterday,” said McLaughlin.
“I learnt a lot with Fabs, so thanks to him we’ve got two strong cars.”
Mark Wintebottom slotted into second ahead of Cameron Waters, Coulthard and Chaz Mostert, while Jason Bright ensured all six Fords in the field were in the top seven.
Mostert was involved in a wild moment in the closing stages, swerving into the path of a rapidly approaching Whincup on the back straight.
“It’s so hard,” said Mostert after going down to the Red Bull garage to apologise to Whincup.
“The car in front of you is weaving and you’re looking to start a lap as well.
“I didn’t even see Jamie coming up that quick because I was focussed on what was going on in front of me.”
Winterbottom also had drama, spending 10 minutes in the garage while the team replaced a broken rear suspension arm.
James Courtney was the fastest Holden in sixth ahead of Bright, Rick Kelly, Lee Holdsworth and Garth Tander.
The Triple Eight Holdens of van Gisbergen, Craig Lowndes and Whincup ended up 22nd, 24th and 25th respectively.
Whincup had his fastest time that would have been good enough for fifth disallowed for jumping the Turn 7 exit kerb, while van Gisbergen speared off at Turn 4 in the closing stages.
Tim Slade managed just five laps before slowing with an engine failure, requiring a rapid change to be undertaken by the Brad Jones Racing crew before qualifying.
CLICK HERE for the full Practice 3 result.