McLaughlin leads all-Falcon top three

  • 03/03/2018
  • By Mitchell Adam
  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

Scott McLaughlin turned the first sub-1:20s lap of the Adelaide 500 weekend to top final practice for Supercars’ season opener.

After Friday’s series of Turn 8 accidents, the 20-minute session passed without incident as drivers and teams look ahead to the first race of the year.

McLaughlin and then Jamie Whincup led the way for the bulk of the session, before David Reynolds moved to the top with five minutes to go.

Reynolds took his Penrite Commodore to the fastest time of the weekend with a 1:20.1584s to sit two tenths clear before pitting.

Entering the final two minutes, Shane van Gisbergen lowered the benchmark to 1:20.0543s, moments before McLaughlin turned what was ultimately the definitive 1:19.8117s.   

McLaughlin said he was “a lot happier” with his Shell V-Power Racing Falcon during the session than on Friday.

“The car feels a lot more comfortable underneath me, ” he said.

“We tried a few things before qualifying yesterday but we weren’t game enough to try them for qualifying, we just wanted to get into the Shootout and give it a tune-up overnight; she’s a jet.”

Mark Winterbottom and Will Davison made it an all-Falcon top three covered by 0.2096 seconds, Davison continuing a strong maiden weekend for the new 23Red Racing.

Their laps after the chequered flag bumped van Gisbergen and Reynolds down to fourth and fifth, ahead of Whincup.

After his Turn 8 crash on Friday afternoon, repairs on Whincup’s new Red Bull Holden Racing Team Commodore finished at 4am.

“A proud moment,” Whincup said.

“The car was very second hand, as you saw yesterday, but she’s good today.

“I would’ve loved to have gone easy through Turn 8, but you’ve got to get back on the horse. Lap one, I hooked in nice and hard as I normally would.

“In life, everyone cops a hit every now and then, you’ve got to get back on the horse and have a crack.”

Brad Jones Racing pair Tim Slade and Nick Percat were seventh and eighth, while Craig Lowndes and Rick Kelly rounded out the top 10.

In the other car to sustain major damage at Turn 8 on Friday, Cameron Waters ran as high as second in the order and ultimately wound up 11th.

Two spots further back, his Tickford Racing team-mate Richie Stanaway was the top rookie, with Reynolds’ Erebus team-mate Anton De Pasquale 15th.

The ARMOR ALL Top 10 Shootout will be held at 11:55am, local time, before the opening, 78-lap race of the 2018 season starts at 3:20pm.

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