Wildcard Mustang tops co-driver practice

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 23/08/2019
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus

Wildcard Thomas Randle has kicked off his Virgin Australia Supercars Championship debut in fine style, topping the additional driver practice session at the OTR SuperSprint.

The first 30-minute hitout of the weekend was held for the additional drivers, providing important running ahead of the start of the PIRTEK Enduro Cup at Bathurst in October.

Wildcard runner Randle was also permitted to take part and made full use of it.

Driving a fifth Tickford Racing Mustang this weekend, Randle went to the top with three minutes remaining, recording a 1:49.9095s.

He backed that up with a lap just 0.066s shy of that marker, and survived a late effort from fellow Tickford driver Michael Caruso, who was 0.1643s adrift in Cameron Waters’ entry.

Randle’s main game debut follows a maiden Dunlop Super2 win last time out at Ipswich, and comes ahead of an expected enduro campaign with Lee Holdsworth.

Garth Tander ended up third in the session in Shane van Gisbergen’s Red Bull Holden Racing Team Commodore.

“We made a change to the car mid-session and the car really came to life, it was fantastic,” Tander said.

“I actually think that the track evolved through that session with the Dunlop rubber going down so I think as the weekend goes on it’s going to get faster again.

“I think Sunday morning quali is going to be pretty cool.”

The 2007 series champion had swapped the top spot with Chaz Mostert’s co-driver James Moffat during the early stages and sat 0.6s clear of the field inside the last 10 minutes.

Full additional drivers practice results

CoolDrive Racing’s Dean Canto and Penrite Racing’s Will Brown completed the top five; the latter having also spent time at the top of the order.

Moffat ended up sixth from 23Red Racing’s Alex Davison and Brad Jones Racing’s Tim Blanchard, who threatened the top spot late before finding traffic.

Craig Lowndes and Dale Wood completed a top 10 split by 1.4s.

Twenty-four cars took to the track, with Greg Murphy sampling both Shell V-Power Mustangs; the team’s co-drivers absent this weekend with overseas commitments.

Murphy started the session in Fabian Coulthard’s car before switching to Scott McLaughlin’s, in which he eventually set the 15th fastest lap.

The session ran largely without incident, apart from an unusual trip across the grass from Jonathon Webb on the run to Turn 13.

“I definitely can’t do two things at once – I was looking down and playing with bars and a few other things, looked up and realised I had run out of road so yeah I’ll steer clear of that one next time,” Webb laughed.

“The camera is hardly on us and the one time I make a mistake it’s looking right at me but it’s all fun and games.”

Two 30-minute sessions for the full-time drivers will complete the opening day of Supercars action at the OTR SuperSprint.

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