Heimgartner pips Brown in Sydney test

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 22/02/2023
  • By James Pavey

Andre Heimgartner has started his 2023 season in style with the fastest time in the official Sydney pre-season test.

The Brad Jones Racing driver — who topped the morning session — went even quicker in the afternoon to take early 2023 bragging rights.

Heimgartner’s 1:29.6787s was just 0.0157s quicker than Will Brown, who dropped his #9 Coca-Coca Camaro into second.

The #8 R&J Batteries Camaro banked 82 laps in a productive day for BJR, which had four cars in the top six.

Brodie Kostecki made it an Erebus two-three ahead of Macauley Jones, Jack Smith and Bryce Fullwood.

Reigning champion Shane van Gisbergen was seventh ahead of Mark Winterbottom, with Todd Hazelwood the top Ford in ninth.

The session was red-flagged with 15 minutes remaining when Nick Percat’s #2 Mobil 1 NTI Mustang stopped in the final sector.

Percat managed to return his car to pit lane under his own steam, and the session resumed.

Van Gisbergen ended up seventh

The day’s running was affected by inclement weather, with the afternoon session commencing under rainy skies.

Light rain fell as the track went green, and the session would have to wait until 20 minutes had elapsed until a driver — Cam Waters — left pit lane.

It took over an hour for conditions to encourage the majority of teams to roll their cars out, with Fullwood jumping to the top with a 1:37.0899s.

Conditions rapidly improved; within 10 minutes, Smith led the way with a 1:32.8503s, before Brown set a 1:32.0048s.

Waters jumped into the 1:31s with a 1:31.3408s, before Winterbottom went slightly quicker with a 1:31.2967s.

Winterbottom strung together consecutive fast laps to gap the field with a 1:30.8094s after 90 minutes.

That remained the benchmark for over half an hour, with the session also neutralised for a brief track clean-up.

On the three-hour mark, Heimgartner fired in a 1:30.4322s immediately after the stoppage to put 0.3772s on Winterbottom’s time, with teammate Jones going third.

Kostecki was just 0.1s from top spot

It took little over five minutes for Brown — who was second in the morning session — to jump ahead by just 0.12s with a 1:30.3083s.

With 46 minutes remaining, Brown went faster again, his 1:29.6944s bettering Heimgartner’s morning session benchmark.

Brown, however, only led proceedings for four minutes as Heimgartner returned to the top, albeit by 0.0157s.

That remained the benchmark despite the session resuming for a 15-minute shootout following Percat’s stoppage.

The other casualty of the session was Scott Pye’s #20 Hino Camaro, which logged just seven laps due to a broken gearbox mount.

A number of teams will test in the coming weeks before attention turns to the season-opening Thrifty Newcastle 500.

The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship will commence in Newcastle on March 10-12.

Tickets are on sale on Supercars.com and Ticketek.com.

2023 Sydney pre-season test: Afternoon session

Driver Laps Best lap Margin
Heimgartner 35 1:29.6787
Brown 19 1:29.6944 0.0157
B.Kostecki 27 1:29.7851 0.1064
Jones 27 1:29.9584 0.2797
Smith 41 1:30.2193 0.5406
Fullwood 52 1:30.2449 0.5662
van Gisbergen 44 1:30.2472 0.5685
Winterbottom 30 1:30.6914 1.0127
Hazelwood 23 1:30.7131 1.0344
Feeney 47 1:30.7341 1.0554
Hill 31 1:30.7717 1.0930
Le Brocq 40 1:30.8698 1.1911
Mostert 33 1:31.0940 1.4153
De Pasquale 23 1:31.2223 1.5436
Slade 37 1:31.2401 1.5614
Waters 52 1:31.3408 1.6621
Payne 28 1:31.3755 1.6968
Reynolds 30 1:31.4941 1.8154
W.Davison 33 1:31.5737 1.8950
Randle 52 1:31.6324 1.9537
Pye 7 1:31.6544 1.9757
Golding 28 1:31.7031 2.0244
*Combined 53 1:31.8418 2.1631
Percat 27 1:32.2209 2.5422
Courtney 27 1:32.3073 2.6286

*Declan Fraser's #56 Mustang being shared by Zak Best, Tyler Everingham, James Moffat and Garry Jacobson

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