Newcomer Barbour tops SuperUtes practice

  • ECB SuperUtes Series
  • |
  • 06/07/2018
  • By Joshua Makhoul

ECB SuperUtes Series debutant Elliot Barbour set the pace in Friday practice for Round 3 at the Watpac Townsville 400.

Barbour, who is filling in for Dakar Rally winner Toby Price, topped both of Friday’s sessions at Reid Park.

A 1:35.5084s lap from the Team Triton driver in Practice 1 was the day's best, Barbour’s Practice 2 benchmark ultimately 0.0365 seconds slower.

“I was battling an issue where the brake pedal was really slippery and my foot was slipping off it in the braking zones – obviously it didn’t affect our speed because we still ended up P1," said Barbour.

Ryal Harris was Barbour's closest competitor, finishing second in both sessions aboard the EFS 4x4 Racing Mazda BT-50.

Harris and Barbour battled back and forth throughout the sessions, but the former emerged on top each time.

Winton round winner Tom Alexander was fourth in the opening session, then third in the afternoon and for the day aboard the SP Tools Holden Colorado.

Craig Dontas in the second factory-backed Triton battled mechanical problems all day, but was still fourth based on the time that put him third-fastest in Practice 1.

“We were battling a faulty overboost valve in [Practice 1], which was causing the car to go into limp mode," said Dontas.

“[In Practice 2] we had no fuel pressure, so we didn’t get any laps.

“It’s becoming a bit frustrating – we know we’ve got the speed to be competitive, hopefully our luck changes soon.”

Ford Ranger driver Christopher Formosa improved from his Practice 1 result of eighth to fourth in Practice 2, to be fifth in the combined order.

“I’m really happy today, the most confident I’ve been in the car," said Formosa.

“After Winton, I feel like I learned how to modulate the braking a lot better and it’s made a big difference – hopefully we can carry the form into qualifying.”

Aaron Cameron was next in the Bushranger Racing Mazda, ahead of the three upgraded Toyota Hiluxes of Ben Walsh, series leader Craig Woods and Matthew MacKelden.

“The Hilux engine upgrades are excellent, not only do we have more power, but the delivery is a lot more progressive and easy to manage," said Walsh.

Woods added: “The engine upgrades for the Hilux feel really good so far, I was behind some other cars and I was just as fast as they were.”

Thomas Gasperak rounded out the order in his AC Delco Holden Colorado.

“It’s my first time at Townsville so I was just learning the track – there’s some good corners and it’s fun riding the kerbs," the 16-year-old said.

ARMOR ALL Qualifying will commence at 10:25am on Saturday, followed by the opening race of the weekend at 1:15pm.

Stay In The Know
Sign up to the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Newsletter