Coulthard leads Friday all-Mustang top three

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 12/04/2019
  • By Mitchell Adam

Fabian Coulthard pipped Shell V-Power Racing team-mate Scott McLaughlin as Ford Mustangs filled the top three places in second WD-40 Phillip Island SuperSprint practice.

Coulthard logged a 1:30.1807s on the final runs of the 30 minutes to shade McLaughlin by a mere 0.0060 seconds.

Cameron Waters made it an all-Mustang top three, from the Nissan of Rick Kelly, while the Red Bull Holdens of Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup were 10th and 11th.

That means Whincup will have to navigate the first phase of knockout ARMOR ALL Qualifying on Saturday, which the fastest 10 in this session bypass.

Chaz Mostert, Nick Percat and David Reynolds with a pair of improvements spent time at the top before McLaughlin grabbed first with a 1:31.3678s nearing the halfway mark.

He was still top when a red-flag for geese on the circuit with 10 minutes remaining set the scene for a final shootout.

Whincup moved to the top on a 1:31.2376s with six-and-a-half minutes left.

The Shell Fords then struck on the final runs, McLaughlin and Coulthard turning 1:30.18s efforts, the latter's effort quicker by 0.006s.

"It’s good that we’ve got two fast cars, that’s the main thing," Coulthard said.

"It’s hard to know really where you’re at when the Triple Eight Holdens are not there.

"We’ll go through everything tonight and see if we can make it better.

"This is one of those tracks where if you find a little bit you find a lot.

"I’m not 100 percent happy, I don’t think you ever are. You can make it better."

Those laps weren't beaten, Coulthard finishing Friday on top.

Waters was 0.2661s off Coulthard's effort, joined in the top 10 by Tickford team-mates Will Davison and Lee Holdsworth in fifth and sixth and Chaz Mostert in ninth.

Kelly was third in Practice 1 and backed that up with fourth in the afternoon session.

The Castrol Nissan in fourth prevented a sweep of the top five by the Mustangs.

Practice 1 pacesetter Anton De Pasquale and Todd Hazelwood were seventh and eighth, while Mostert and van Gisbergen rounded out the top 10.

"We probably didn’t expect that result going into that session," Hazelwood, the quickest driver in a Triple Eight-built Holden, said.

"We were 11th in P1, we put new tyres on it to see what the car was doing.

"Thankfully we did because it gave us a read of what to do with the car then and we got it really hooked up, it was good.

"[Triple Eight] gave us all the ingredients to do a good job in the first place.

"It’s good to be able to work closely with those guys, for it to be a two-way relationship where, when they’re faster than us, we learn, and when we’re faster than them they can learn off us.

"It’s a really cool thing we’ve got going there and to be one of the couple of Holdens in the top 10 is really special for a little team like Matt Stone Racing."

Van Gisbergen leapt up from 21st at the death to demote Whincup to 11th by 0.0101s.

"Disappointed. We wanted to be in the 10, we pushed pretty hard," Whincup, only 23rd in Practice 1, said.

"I’m only a hundredth behind my team-mate, so that sucks, he just knocked me out at the end there.

"That’s the way it goes, we’ll keep fighting on. We’ve got Todd Hazelwood up there in my car from last year.

"Those guys are doing a better job than we are at the moment so we’ll have to pull our finger out."

Also set to contest Q1 on Saturday, Percat and Reynolds were 12th and 14th and Tim Slade 15th after a run through the Turn 2 gravel in his Freightliner Holden.

The Mobil 1 MEGA Racing Commodores were led by Scott Pye in 16th, two spots ahead of Mark Winterbottom.

Jack Le Brocq's Truck Assist Commodore took a wild ride wide at Lukey Heights late, the Tekno driver finishing 22nd.

Practice 3 starts at 10:40am on Saturday, before ARMOR ALL Qualifying from 1:15pm and the day's 27-lap race at 3:50pm.

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