Nissan’s Michael Caruso topped opening practice at the Red Rooster Sydney SuperSprint where windy conditions proved the big talking point.
Just 19th in the championship after a horror run so far this season, Caruso set the pace for the majority of the 40 minute session, lowering his own benchmark on three consecutive runs.
Caruso’s final 1:29.96s best proved 0.38s clear of Scott McLaughlin, while Jamie Whincup, Tim Slade and Fabian Coulthard completed the top five.
CLICK HERE for the full Practice 1 result.
“It’s hard to know what to make of what everyone else is doing, but there’s still a bit to try to improve,” said Caruso.
“The wind around here is crazy, particularly, on my first lap. I came down the straight and didn’t even get into sixth gear.
“I asked if there’s something wrong with our engine and my engineer said ‘no mate, there’s a pretty big headwind’.
“It (the wind) is a challenge but it’s one that we needed to tackle. In some places the wind helps and in others it doesn’t.”
McLaughlin also described the windy conditions as a big challenge for the drivers.
“It’s crazy, we’re so deep into turn 1, it’s awesome. We’re just throwing it in there and the car just sticks,” he said.
“But then you get over the back into turn 6 and down the hill it pushed the car into the corner very hard and it’s quite hard to stop.
“It’s easy to underdo it or overdo it in these conditions. It’s hard to find a balance.”
Ipswich winner Chaz Mostert ended up sixth ahead of David Reynolds, Cameron Waters, Lee Holdsworth and Scott Pye.
Will Davison meanwhile completed just one flying lap before steering problems left his Lightning McQueen Holden garage-bound.
“Lightning is a bit cranky this morning, he hasn’t woken up too well. It’s a little rough start for the young fella,” he quipped.
"We’ve got a problem with the steering rack, the second lap out something has clearly failed and we’re going to have to change it.”
A second 40 minute practice session will take place later this afternoon.