2010 V8 Supercars Champion James Courtney has held out Triple Eight rival Craig Lowndes in the second practice session of the Perth SuperSprint.
Holden Racing Team’s Courtney was the only driver to crack the ’55-second’ bracket in the hour-long session, which again saw spots of rain fall at Barbagallo Raceway.
The HRT has gone under the radar since Courtney’s Clipsal 500 race win, looking for more pace in the car, and the former champ seemed pleased with the progress at the end of Friday’s practice runs with his 55.9297sec lap on the Dunlop soft tyre.
“We got quite a good read on our thing but we’re still chasing the ultimate balance,” Courtney said.
“Chipping away – it’s nice to be first, but it’ll be nice to be first tomorrow … no one’s happy when they’re not doing well. We’ve been working flat out chasing the feeling I want from the car.”
Lowndes was 0.2062sec away, with early fast man Scott McLaughlin coming home third.
Scott Pye had recorded a top three time, but was stripped of it after failing to respect the track limits.
Drivers jumped out of the car with minutes remaining in the session as rain came again.
Jamie Whincup had to be rescued by his Red Bull team, his car pushed up pit lane after a suspected battery issue.
Champ Mark Winterbottom, who performed well here last year, came home 16th while Courtney’s teammate and hometown hero Garth Tander was 21st in the order.