Darwin Supercars: McLaughlin leads Whincup in final practice
Scott McLaughlin beat Jamie Whincup to top the final pre-qualifying Supercars practice session in Darwin.
The DJR Team Penske driver, who topped yesterday's second practice, effectively led the way throughout the 45-minute session.
He first went fastest nine minutes in with a 1m06.209s, a time that proved unbeatable until there was just three minutes to go. Even then McLaughlin was the only man capable of besting that lap, a 1m06.141s putting top spot beyond doubt.
"We did a couple of little changes, but we were happy yesterday, so we didn't want to over-do anything," said McLaughlin.
"It's nice to experiment a little bit before quali, and the track is getting hotter, so it's more like qualifying is going to be. To experiment now, and be in control of that, is nice. We're not chasing anything. We're pretty happy at the moment."
Whincup ended up second fastest, but unlike McLaughlin he wasn't a factor until the final few minutes. The Triple Eight driver was actually languishing down in 14th before his late 1m06.315s pushed him to the pointy end.
David Reynolds failed to make an late gains but still ended up third quickest, while James Courtney slotted into fourth with with around eight minutes to go.
Rick Kelly slipped back to fifth after setting his best time early, the Nissan driver followed by Tim Slade and Shane van Gisbergen.
Fabian Coulthard improved to eighth on his last run after a mostly quiet session, while Darwin rookie Anton De Pasquale was impressive on his way to ninth, ahead of legend Craig Lowndes.
It was a tough session for the lone wildcard entry in the field, Super2 regular Macauley Jones backing his BJR Holden into the Turn 11 wall right on the 30-minute mark. The recovery led to a 10-minute stoppage, Jones giving his crew a tight turnaround before qualifying this afternoon.
"I feel fine, I'm just a bit gutted for the crew," he said. "We've go a pretty damaged car.
"We were making some changes, we made some big changes last night and definitely improved the car. I just went in pretty hard and lost the rear of the car big time. It's one of those things, really."
It was also another tough session for Tickford Racing, Chaz Mostert the best of the team's four Fords down in 12th.
|1||17||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Falcon FG X||1'06.1410|
|2||1||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||1'06.3157||0.1747|
|3||9||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||1'06.4257||0.2847|
|4||25||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||1'06.4708||0.3298|
|5||15||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1'06.5122||0.3712|
|6||14||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||1'06.5300||0.3890|
|7||97||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||1'06.5420||0.4010|
|8||12||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG X||1'06.5554||0.4144|
|9||99||Anton de Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||1'06.5557||0.4147|
|10||888||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore ZB||1'06.5656||0.4246|
|11||2||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||1'06.6078||0.4668|
|12||55||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG X||1'06.6170||0.4760|
|13||33||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore ZB||1'06.6249||0.4839|
|14||8||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||1'06.6267||0.4857|
|15||23||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||1'06.6546||0.5136|
|16||5||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG X||1'06.6737||0.5327|
|17||34||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||1'06.6823||0.5413|
|18||7||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||1'06.7407||0.5997|
|19||78||Simona de Silvestro||Nissan Altima||1'06.7543||0.6133|
|20||56||Richie Stanaway||Ford Falcon FG X||1'06.7992||0.6582|
|21||4||Macauley Jones||Holden Commodore ZB||1'06.8147||0.6737|
|22||6||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG X||1'06.9243||0.7833|
|23||21||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore ZB||1'06.9612||0.8202|
|24||230||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG X||1'06.9732||0.8322|
|25||400||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore ZB||1'07.0230||0.8820|
|26||19||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||1'07.1717||1.0307|
|27||35||Todd Hazelwood||Ford Falcon FG X||1'07.3682||1.2272|
Darwin Supercars: McLaughlin edges Kelly in Practice 2
Darwin Supercars: Reynolds snatches Saturday pole