Volvo’s Scott McLaughlin has drawn first blood at the season opening Clipsal 500 with a late flying lap in practice sending him to the top of the times.
His 1min20.7880 lap eclipsed Holden Racing Team’s James Courtney after the chequered flag dropped for the 40-minute session, beating last year’s event winner by just 0.0331sec.
McLaughlin popped up into the top five in the last 15 minutes and traded times with those at the top before dealing the final blow after the chequered flag.
All drivers’ final times were recorded on hard Dunlop tyres – teams have a set of greens to use in practice and can also run the soft tyre, which will be used in qualifying one and race one. This will be the first time the soft compound is used at the street circuit.
TeamVortex’s Craig Lowndes set the first fast lap early in the session and pounced into third, just ahead of new stablemate Shane van Gisbergen.
Rick Kelly in the Sengled Nissan Altima complete the top five, with DJR Team Penske pair Scott Pye and Fabian Coulthard close behind.
All-time champ Jamie Whincup, who led most of the session with a time set on old tyres, missed his run on greens at the end of the session because he was slightly delayed in the pits. He ended the run 15th.
Defending Champion Mark Winterbottom came home 20th with returning driver Chaz Mostert back in 22nd. Team principal Tim Edwards said during the session the cars were running on old tyres.