Chaz Mostert not totally happy with lap record
WHAT a difference 90 minutes can make.
Prodrive Racing Australia struggled through the opening Supercars practice session for the Coates Hire Ipswich SuperSprint on Friday, with 2015 series champ Mark Winterbottom languishing down in 26th.
In practice two, Chaz Mostert smashed the Supercars lap record at the "Paperclip" to head the times, while Winterbottom recovered to be sixth fastest - and with an imperfect lap, to boot.
"It's funny, this motorsport," Mostert said. "We rolled out with a bit better car then.
"It's still got issues, and on that lap there was a car off at turn four-five, so we're probably a lot further up than where that looks. It seems like the car is very sensitive.
"When you're in the window it's right, but staying in that window is very tough.
"Brendan (Hogan, race engineer) did a good job. We were P26 and genuinely annoyed, and the guys turned it around in an hour-and-a-half."
Mostert also wasn't totally pleased with his car, despite it being the first Supercar to lap Queensland Raceway in less than 69 seconds, his 1min 08.996sec lap the new overall benchmark.
"It didn't feel like one of my best QR laps but the time was pretty impressive," Mostert said.
"The car has felt pretty good for most of the day. The first session we tried doing some stuff, sticking to our program. It didn't feel that comfortable. Then it didn't feel that bad but still doesn't feel that right out there."
The top of the order changed rapidly as the session ticked towards its conclusion, with David Reynolds and Rick Kelly both briefly snagging first before Mostert laid down his final lap.
Fabian Coulthard ended the day in second place, 0.110sec shy of Mostert but much closer to the pace than he was last time out in Townsville, while Shane van Gisbergen rounded out the top three.
Kelly and Reynolds completed the top five, the No.9 Penrite car spending most of the session in the garage as the crew replaced some $2000 of new components that failed to improve performance.
The Supercars will hit the track for one more practice session on Saturday morning before the opening qualifying session and race of the weekend in the afternoon.
EARLIER: Scott McLaughlin has rolled his impressive form from North Queensland to south-eastern Queensland, topping Supercars practice one for the Coates Hire Ipswich Supersprint.
Shell V-Power Racing's championship leader set a 1min 09.576sec lap to head Tim Slade by just 0.049sec, with David Reynolds rounding out the top three.
The news was not so good for fellow Ford driver Mark Winterbottom, who is looking for answers after finishing a distant 26th.
"The car's horrible. There's no hiding behind it. I don't know why it's so bad," he said.
"Thankfully it's Practice 1, not Race 1. Two sets of tyres and I've never had a car handle like that before.
"I've just got no front end. When you turn in the front just folds and I'm just running out of road. The corner finishes at some stage, and I'm still trying to turn when I'm (getting) on the throttle. I've got no roll speed.
"When you come in and look at the sectors - we break it down to eight sectors here - and my best is 19th. It's bad everywhere; it's not just one or two corners, it's the whole track. Highlights something, which is good, but now the job is now to try and find it and make it quicker."
McLaughlin wasn't without his own issues, despite setting a time less than half a second shy of the fastest ever practice time at the deceptively fickle track.
"The car was good straight away. Even on the warm-up tyres that we use to warm up the brakes it was pretty good," he said.
"The Turn 1 bump I'm struggling with. I might have to look at some footage to see what I was doing previously to see if I've changed anything. We'll also look at some race cambers and things we'll run for the race."
Fabian Coulthard looks to have bounced back from his poor run in Townsville to finish the session in fourth, while Shane van Gisbergen ended the session fifth.
Rick Kelly, Chaz Mostert, Will Davison, Michael Caruso and Nick Percat rounded out the top 10.
Townsville winner Jamie Whincup ended the session down in 12th but just 0.362sec shy of McLaughlin, with the first 14 cars breaking into the 69-second bracket. James Courtney was not one of them, finishing up 16th, three spots ahead of Craig Lowndes.
Jack Le Brocq was the quickest of the four wildcard entrants who have boosted the field to 30 cars for the weekend, putting the No. 28 Nissan 15th fastest, while Todd Hazelwood ended the session 22nd aboard his own car after topping the Additional Drivers Practice session in Tim Blanchard's CoolDrive Holden.
Along with Winterbottom, the Garry Rogers Motorsport crew will also have a busy afternoon between sessions looking for pace.
Garth Tander was their best performer in 24th, just 0.01 of a second quicker than wildcard James Golding in 25th, with James Moffat a further tenth adrift in 27th.