A significant change in the weather threatens to shake-up the remainder of the Coates Hire Supercars Melbourne 400 at Albert Park.
The first Supercars event for points at the Australian Grand Prix has so far been run in dry and hot conditions, with Scott McLaughlin winning Friday evening’s opening race.
Rain started to fall on Saturday morning and is expected to continue throughout the day, with temperatures dropping slightly accordingly, as drivers tackle the next two of the weekend’s four races.
The first of two shorter, 13-lap races starts at 12:40pm, with a repeat of Friday’s 25-lap opener scheduled for 6:30pm.
Saturday’s longer race has been pushed back by 10 minutes based on revised Formula 1 post-qualifying procedures, with the time-certain finish of 7:30pm roughly matching sunset.
Albert Park’s last wet Supercars race was held on the Saturday in 2013, Fabian Coulthard winning the third of the four races in McLaughlin’s rookie Supercars campaign.
With Brad Jones Racing, Coulthard won in the wet in 2013
“Between the spray, the lights and the glare, it’s going to be interesting. If it does rain it’s going to be full-on,” McLaughlin told Supercars.com of the prospect of a wet twilight race.
“From memory the track handles water pretty well. The painted lines were a drama into Turn 1 and stuff, but luckily I’ve qualified half-decent.
“But it’s hard to know how it’ll go, because the cars have changed so much and the last time it was wet I was in the red [Garry Rogers Motorsport] car.”
Various forecasts in the last week have included rain on Sunday, but the latest indicate it is likely to be dry for the final Supercars race starting at 1:45pm.
Friday’s race started slightly late, at 5:59pm, and ran through to 6:50pm, drivers having to contend with the setting sun in some parts of the track.
“It was alright,” seventh-place finisher David Reynolds told Supercars.com.
“The shadows move around a lot, so that makes a big difference to your brake points.
“If it rains, it’s going to be pretty nuts, but if it’s dry, at that time there’s still light around so it’d be fine.”