Heimgartner leads Brown, Reynolds in Practice 1

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 10/03/2023
  • By James Pavey

Andre Heimgartner proved his Sydney speed was no fluke with the quickest time in Practice 1 at the Thrifty Newcastle 500.

Heimgartner and Will Brown, who were first and second in the Sydney test, were also the top two in Friday’s first session.

The Brad Jones Racing driver bolted on new tyres late on and clocked a session-topping 1:11.9958s.

The Kiwi’s time was the only 1:11s lap of the 45-minute session.

Reigning champion Shane van Gisbergen led the historic roll-out of all 25 new Gen3 cars.

After 45 minutes, it was countryman Heimgartner who claimed early bragging rights of the new Mustang vs Camaro era.

“We’re undefeated so far, on the test day and today,” Heimgartner joked.

“But it means absolutely nothing… you really need to build up to it.

“You won’t see a true indicative time until qualifying where people can put a few sets on and try and extract."

Penrite Racing driver David Reynolds was first of the Ford contingent in third with a 1:12.1979s.

Walkinshaw Andretti United duo Nick Percat and Chaz Mostert rounded out the top five.

The top 10 were covered by 0.9976s, with James Golding, Tim Slade and Bryce Fullwood filling positions six through eight.

Will Davison and Mark Winterbottom rounded out the top 10, with van Gisbergen 11th.

Thomas Randle brought up the rear of the 25-car field, but completed the most laps of the session with 29.

Mostert led early on with a 1:14.4467s before improving to a 1:13.3132s next time around.

Brown and Reynolds later spent time at the top, before Percat and Heimgartner both jumped ahead.

Van Gisbergen — the 2021 and 2022 champion — reset the benchmark to a 1:13.0103s with 10 minutes to go.

Mostert was first into the 1:12s with a 1:12.9672s, before Heimgartner left his rivals for dead with a 1:11.9958s with six minutes remaining.

Brown managed to jump to second with a 1:12.1771s with two minutes to go, but narrowly avoided a crash at Turn 2.

Turn 2 proved a challenge for drivers as they found the limits of the 2.6km Newcastle circuit.

Notably, Heimgartner, Fullwood, Cam Waters, Matt Payne, Macauley Jones and Jack Le Brocq all bowled wides at the left-hander.

Anton De Pasquale was 14th in his Shell V-Power Ford, with Waters 19th.

Cars will return to the track for Practice 2 at 2:30pm local time, before ending the day with Practice 3 at 3:50pm.

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