McLaughlin’s on top
- By Kassie Gadeke
- Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
Scott McLaughlin has put a difficult week behind him to clock the fastest time in opening practice in Perth.
The quick Kiwi earned Volvo’s first Championship race win at Barbagallo Raceway in 2014 and was on the pace in the opening hour with a 56.4211sec lap around the short, unique circuit.
Rain was falling as the session started, but cleared over the hour to allow teams a shot on the soft Dunlop tyres for a fast run.
Chaz Mostert was just 0.0976sec behind, at the circuit he claimed his first V8 Supercars ARMOR ALL Pole Position last year before an incredible run of P1 starts across the 2015 season.
“The car feels nice but a long way to go yet,” McLaughlin said.
“We put our second set of tyres there to get a feel … balance-wise we’re happy. But it’s been a tough week, that’s for sure.”
2015 Champion Mark Winterbottom had a strong showing in Perth last year and is confident with his Ford Falcon FG X after finishing fourth behind Brad Jones Racing’s Tim Slade.
“We did our time quite early in the session – we’re still on our first set of tyres which is good, but hard to know where everyone is at,” Winterbottom said.
“The car is pretty good, probably the best I’ve felt in practice early on in the session so we’ll try to transfer that into a race win.”
The session was red flagged early with David Reynolds running off at ‘the bowl’, bogged in the notorious sand surrounding the Wanneroo racetrack. Todd Kelly was caught out there later, but made his way back on track.
A number of co-drivers banked some laps with Tony D’Alberto and Luke Youlden in the DJR Team Penske cars, David Russell and Dean Fiore in the Nissans and Karl Reindler sampling car 18.
The V8 Supercars hit the track for second practice at 2.40pm local time.