Russell beats Tander, Stanaway as Fiore crashes

05 Oct
Erebus tops both Thursday sessions in Bathurst as Mount Panorama claims first victim
3 mins by James Pavey
  • Russell completes Thursday practice sweep at Mount Panorama for Erebus

  • Tander second, Stanaway third as rookie Allen impresses to fourth

  • Fiore crashes at Murray's Corner in opening minutes, triggering red flag

David Russell has completed an Erebus Motorsport practice sweep at Mount Panorama, topping Practice 2 for Additional Drivers on Thursday.

Russell, who is sharing the #99 Coca-Cola Chevrolet with championship leader Brodie Kostecki, set the time sheets alight after an early red flag due to an incident for Dean Fiore.

The 2021 podium-finisher clocked a day-best 2:05.6826s to put a big margin on the field, with Penrite Racing veteran Garth Tander second.

For the second time in as many sessions, Erebus led Penrite Racing as Tander moved the #26 Ford to second in the final 10 minutes. Tander set the fastest time in the corresponding session last year, albeit with a 2:04.1359s.

Two late flyers for rookie Kai Allen, who moved the wildcard #98 Shell V-Power Ford to fourth at the death, ensured an even split of five Camaros and five Mustangs in the top 10.

The first of two Additional Drivers-only sessions was suspended early on after Brad Jones Racing co-driver Fiore crashed the #14 Middy’s Electrical Chevrolet at Murray’s Corner.

Fiore, who is driving with Bryce Fullwood, locked up heading into the final corner and buried the pink Camaro into the tyres.

Fiore crashes out of Practice 2

After a 10-minute stoppage to retrieve the damaged car, Russell clocked a time better than Erebus stablemate Will Brown’s Practice 1 benchmark.

Russell led Richie Stanaway (#97 Red Bull Ampol Camaro), Jack Perkins (#9 Coca-Cola Camaro) and James Moffat (#6 Monster Energy Mustang) as the sun set over Bathurst, with times improving down the order.

Jayden Ojeda completed the most laps, completing 25 tours of the 6.213km circuit aboard Jack Le Brocq's #34 Truck Assist Camaro. Le Brocq ended up 12th on the time sheets, running as high as second.

Tander’s efforts featured a scare at The Esses, but the five-time Bathurst winner rebounded to keep Penrite Racing as the fastest Ford team on opening day.

Teenager Allen’s efforts, meanwhile, ensured the Shell V-Power Racing Team had all three Mustangs in the top 10, with Alex Davison (#17 Mustang) and Tony D’Alberto (#11 Mustang) seventh and eighth.

Highlights: Practice 2 2023 Repco Bathurst 1000

Triple Eight, meanwhile, had its three Camaros in the top six; Zane Goddard clocked a 2:06.7650s in the wildcard #888 Supercheap Auto Camaro, with Jamie Whincup sixth with a 2:06.7823s in Broc Feeney’s #88 Red Bull Ampol Camaro.

Stanaway set the early running in Shane van Gisbergen’s #97 Red Bull Ampol Camaro with a 2:08.0094s on his first lap, followed by a 2:06.3842s on his following lap.

Russell edged Stanaway’s time by 0.0062s after the stoppage, before moving the benchmark out of reach for the remainder of the afternoon.

It was a nervous afternoon for Garry Jacobson who, aboard Thomas Randle’s #55 Tickford Racing Mustang, scraped the wall exiting The Dipper before bowling a wide at Forrest’s Elbow.

Perkins and 2021 Bathurst 1000 winner Lee Holdsworth (#25 Mobil 1 Optus Mustang) rounded out the top 10.

Supercars will return to the track at Mount Panorama for Practice 3, for all drivers, at 10:00am AEDT. Practice 4 will follow at 1:05pm, before ARMOR ALL Qualifying at 4:15pm.

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