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Best pips Allen by 0.006s in chaotic practice

Dunlop Series
16 Sep
Three red flags, several offs headline final Dunlop Series practice at Sandown
2 mins by James Pavey
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Super2 title combatants Zak Best and Kai Allen were separated by just 0.006s in an incident-filled Practice 2 at the Penrite Oil Sandown 500.

Best leads Allen by just 66 points heading to Saturday’s first 40-minute race of the weekend, and there was nothing between the two on Friday.

Zane Morse, Jack Perkins and Brad Vaughan completed the top five in a session filled with offs, including one for Allen at Turn 9, with red flags flown three times.

Brad Jones Racing driver Lochie Dalton caused the first and third stoppages, both due to offs at the Turn 9 sand trap.

Several drivers strike trouble at tricky Turn 9

The second stoppage was triggered by an off for Valentino Astuti, also at Turn 9, with Aaron Love bringing his Petronas Ford to a halt on the back straight.

All cars returned to the track after their respective incidents, with Love sixth, Dalton 16th and Astuti 21st.

After the early stoppage caused by Dalton, Nash Morris led the times with a 1:10.6063s, with Best firing in a 1:10.3434s with 12 minutes on the clock.

Allen, Astuti, Callum Walker and Jordyn Sinni each struck trouble at Turn 9, with the respective Astuti and Love incidents forcing a second red flag of the session.

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Morris bowled a wide at the Turn 6/7 section after the session resumed, with Ryan Wood jumping to the top with a 1:10.1946s.

The times continued to tumble, however, with Brad Vaughan clocking a 1:09.8323s before Dalton went off for a second time at Turn 9.

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Vaughan improved from there, first with a 1:09.7199s before recording a 1:09.5658s. Behind him, Jay Hanson went second with a 1:09.7825s, with Jack Perkins third with a 1:09.8149s.

Best and Allen began to find more speed, the latter going fourth with a 1:09.8800s before putting over 0.2s on the field with a 1:09.3565. Morse went second with a 1:09.5491s, before Best went fastest of all with a 1:09.3505s.

Morse, Perkins, Vaughan, Love, Aaron Seton filled positions three through seven, with Super3 Altima duo Cameron McLeod — who suffered a big lock-up at Turn 1 — and Mason Kelly sandwiching ninth-placed Hanson.

Wood, Sinni, Cameron Crick and Morris filled positions 11 though 14, with Matt Chahda 15th ahead of Dalton.

It was a tricky afternoon for Cooper Murray, who was only 24th despite being third in the points standings after three rounds.

ARMOR ALL Qualifying for Saturday’s first 40-minute race will commence at 11:35am AEST.

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