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Brown controls first Townsville practice

06 Jul 2023
Hazelwood jumps to second ahead of van Gisbergen
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Will Brown has controlled Practice 1 at the NTI Townsville 500, with Todd Hazelwood a surprise second ahead of Shane van Gisbergen.

The first competitive running of the Gen3 era at Reid Park was led from start to finish by the #9 Coca-Cola Camaro.

Brown, who enters the weekend just 59 points from the series lead, clocked a 1:13.9706s early to lead the times.

  • Click here for Practice 1 results

That lap proved the benchmark for the remainder of the session, with Brown over 0.2s ahead of his closest rival.

Brown was the only driver to set a lap in the 1:13s barrier, with the top 19 drivers covered by 0.9418s.

The session ran green in its entirety, with drivers avoiding trouble around the tricky 2.9km circuit.

“The car feels really good,” said Brown, who has a best finish of fifth at Reid Park in seven starts.

"I was feeling pretty confident coming here, watched a lot of footage.

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“With when you roll out, everything heats up and you’ve got to it [the fast lap] on lap 1 or 2.

“The car feels good, just got to keep it going."

Hazelwood fired his #3 CoolDrive Mustang to second in the closing minutes with a 1:14.1906s.

The Blanchard Racing Team driver unseated van Gisbergen, who recently returned to Australia after his shock NASCAR Cup Series win.

Van Gisbergen, who has won 10 races in Townsville, won on his NASCAR debut on the streets of Chicago last weekend.

Hazelwood was just 0.0585s ahead of the #97 Red Bull Ampol Camaro, with Broc Feeney fourth ahead of Andre Heimgartner (#8 R&J Batteries Camaro).

Series leader Brodie Kostecki suffered a steering issue and completed only seven laps, and ended up 11th.

Cars will return to the track for Practice 2 at 2:45pm AEST.

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