McLaughlin tops bruising Practice 2

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 03/03/2017
  • By Lewis Isaacs

Scott McLaughlin has continued his strong start to life at Shell V-Power Racing by topping the second practice session at the Clipsal 500.

McLaughlin was the first to go under 1:20s with a 1:19.8911s in the first half of the day's second 40 minute session, underscoring the potential in his new FG X Ford.

The Kiwi later improved his own benchmark to end practice with a 1:19.8355s best.

Rick Kelly continued to set impressive times in his Nissan Altima, finishing P2 after he was third fastest in the day’s earlier practice.

The time came despite losing his first green tyre lap to the kerb sensor at Turn 2.

“I’m surprised with where we are because I didn’t think I did a good job, it was a bit of a shaky lap,’ said Kelly.

“We’re still learning how to warm these tyres up, when the fronts are ready to go and when the rears fall off.”

Defending champion Shane van Gisbergen finished with the third fastest time despite looping his Holden at Turn 7 earlier in the session.

Team-mate Jamie Whincup was P4 while Nissan’s Todd Kelly was fifth fastest but, like brother Rick, adamant that he'd failed to get the most from the car.

‘There’s a few more tenths in it just getting the whole lap together,” he said.

“The car is still hard to drive and flow. I’m only getting four out of every five corners right at the moment.”

Nick Percat, who skimmed the wall at Turn 11, finished sixth fastest despite a lock-up on the final turn on his best lap.

Garth Tander made light contact with the wall at the high speed Turn 8 exit, while Whincup, James Courtney and Tim Slade were among those to scrape the tyre wall at the exit of Turn 11.

Tander ended up down in 18th as he continues to adjust to the Garry Rogers Holden after 12 years at Walkinshaw.

“The biggest thing we’re working on at the moment is the brake package because it’s a fair bit different to what I’ve used in the past,” he said.

“We didn’t get any tuning done in that session because we were focussed on brakes.

“The team has also found that the Volvo and Holden aero is very different. There’s a bit to chip away on.”

Michael Caruso and Todd Kelly both used the Turn 4 escape road while Cameron Waters damaged the front left corner of his Ford late in the session by hitting the tyre bundle at Turn 1.

The session was interrupted half-way through when Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport’s Alex Rullo was stuck in the tyre barrier on the exit at Turn 5, bringing out the red flag.

The incident punctuated a tough session for the 16-year-old who was forced to sit in the garage for the first five minutes as a penalty for crossing the control line twice after the chequered flag in Practice 1.

The Supercars will return to the track for a 20 minute qualifying session later this afternoon.

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