Tim Slade has put talk of his future aside to top the first practice session of the Wilson Security Sandown 500.
Just an hour before commencement of the first practice session of the first endurance race, Erebus Motorsport V8 released a statement declaring Slade's departure from the team.
While Slade is not commenting on his future, how did he feel about the announcement of his departure from Erebus Motorsport V8 for the 2014 season? Was it distracting before jumping in the car?
“Definitely," Slade told v8supercars.com.au.
"My preference was, any announcements I ever had to make – not that I’ve had to make many in my career – but I’d prefer to do it away from the race track. That was my words of advice to everyone involved, but it is what it is.”
In his Heavy Haulage Australia Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, Slade dialled the fastest time, with co-driver Andrew Thompson jumping in with four minutes to go.
The second practice session of the day, beginning just 45 minutes after the end of the first, is solely for co-drivers – a handful were in the new generation V8 Supercars for P1, though Ryan Briscoe (Supercheap Auto Racing) and Marc Lieb (TEKNO Autosports Darrell Lea) have not yet been behind the wheel.
Slade was glad to have set the pace in the first session.
"Obviously we were good enough to be quickest. It’s early days, it’s practice one and the same old story in practice, you don’t know who’s on what tyres. Obviously the car couldn’t have been too bad compared to everyone else’s. Hopefully it’s a good and positive start to the weekend. I’d much rather be there than bringing up the tail of the field.
It was always the team's intention for Slade to run the majority of the first practice.
“We stuck to our plan, that was always our plan before the session. I was going to do two or three runs and chuck Tommo in to do two or three laps at the end there and get a feel for it. He has his own session in P2."
The Slade/Thompson entry was followed by The Bottle-O Falcon of David Reynolds/Dean Canto, Red Bull Racing's Craig Lowndes, another Erebus entry with Lee Holdsworth and Pepsi Max FPR's Mark Winterbottom/Steve Richards.
Click here for full session results. The results show which co-drivers participated in part of the session.