Red Bulls lead opening Clipsal 500 practice

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

The Red Bull Holden Racing Team continued where it left the 2016 season by taking a one-two in Practice 1 at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide.

Last year’s championship runner-up, Jamie Whincup, set a 1:20.4006s lap half-way through the session to be fastest with defending champion Shane van Gisbergen 0.1248s adrift in second.

Rick Kelly finished P3 for Nissan after setting his best times early in the 40 minute run.

Kelly, who topped the pre-season test at Sydney Motorsport Park, was first to go out on a green tyre, setting a 1:20.7639s lap on his first tour that was one second faster than the rest of the field at the time and quicker than the top time from last year’s first practice session.

New Shell V-Power Racing recruit Scott McLaughlin was on track for one of the fastest laps in practice with six minutes remaining before he ran wide at the final corner. 

McLaughlin ended practice in P4, reporting that he is still adjusting to the pedal box and ergonomics of the FG X Falcon.

Michael Caruso set the fifth fastest time ahead of Mobil 1 HSV Racing pair Scott Pye and James Courtney while Prodrive’s Cameron Waters and Mark Winterbottom were the next fastest.

Like McLaughlin, Courtney was on for a better time late in the going before making an error.

"The car is working really well and responding well to the changes we were making," he said.

"We’re pretty comfortable at the moment. We’re a lot better than seventh."

Last year’s Clipsal 500 winner Nick Percat finished P10 in his first public outing for new team, Brad Jones Racing.

“We didn’t put a new tyre on the car at the end because I feel that I’m not quite on top of the car yet," said Percat.

“I’m still getting used to the characteristics of the BJR car, but so far I’m loving it.

“It’s got a lot more front grip than what I’ve been used to in the last two years.

“It’s good to have a car that feels alive again. There’s really good potential.”

Winterbottom and van Gisbergen found themselves overshooting at Turn 4 at separate times, while new Nissan driver Simona De Silvestro also ended up in the escape road after locking up into the corner.

De Silvestro ended up 25th as she adjusts to the punishing street circuit.

“I really like the circuit, it reminds me of my IndyCar days,” she said.

“I still have to learn how to ride the kerbs because in these cars you can hammer them.

“But I learnt a lot, tried some different breaking points and things like that.

“In the next session I need to go and put it all together.”

Garth Tander and Tim Slade also had separate off-track moments at Turn 11 during the session.

Teenage driver Alex Rullo had his running curtailed by an early vibration issue while team-mate Taz Douglas finished in 23rd.

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