Gold Coast 600: Van Gisbergen edges McLaughlin in final practice
Shane van Gisbergen won an intriguing battle of the title contenders in the final practice session for the Gold Coast 600.
Kiwis van Gisbergen and McLaughlin staged a thrilling shootout at the end of the 30-minute session, van Gisbergen ultimately coming out on top with a 1m10.076s from his qualifying simulation run.
Fabian Coulthard, Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes capped off a DJR Team Penske/Triple Eight top five lockout.
For the third time today Whincup was the early pacesetter, firing into the 10s with a 1m10.919s on his very first run.
That time came within the six-minute window before Will Davison was fired into the Turn 2 wall thanks to a loose wheel, his wrecked 23Red Ford resulting in the first and only red flag.
“I went into the first apex there and I heard a big knock, I didn’t really clip the tyre bundle or anything, but as I turned right I lost all steering,” he said.
“I just went straight ahead in. It happened all pretty quick.
“I was perplexed because I knew I hadn’t bounced off the tyre bundle or hit the wheel on anything, so it was the last thing I was expecting.
“It looks like it’s pulled a stud out on the upright and it’s stood the wheel up and lost all steering on the front.
“I’m shattered for the team. We need to analyse why it happened, it’s just a lot of damage that we don’t need right now.”
There was more drama shortly after the restart, Richie Stanaway clipping the wall on the exit of Turn 2 after slipping on water that had been projected out of the tyre barrier by Davison's car.
In Stanaway's case, however, it was the rear that tagged the concrete, meaning he could crawl back to the pits and the track stayed green.
At around the same time Whincup improved on his earlier benchmark, a 1m10.742s leaving him narrowly ahead of David Reynolds.
Just after the midway point of the session Scott McLaughlin made his move, edging clear of Whincup with a 1m10.669s.
Whincup hit back with 10 minutes to go, reclaiming top spot with a 1m10.635s. McLaughlin had the answer, though, with a 1m10.585s on his next run.
With five minutes to van Gisbergen got in on the act, the Kiwi's 1m10.351s leaving him momentarily clear of the field.
The title contenders then switched to green tyres for qualifying simulations right at the flag, McLaughlin going quickest with a 1m10.221s before van Gisbergen secured top spot once and for all with a 1m10.076s.
“When the sun goes down here the track gets so much faster, so I feel like that’s one of the fastest times you’ll see all weekend,” he said.
“I probably under-drove to be on the safe side, just to get a lap on the board, but the car is near-perfect, probably just a few little tweaks.”
Behind the two dominant teams, Lee Holdsworth was a surprise 'Class B' pacesetter in the Team 18 Holden.
He was followed by Nissan's Rick Kelly, while Chaz Mostert led the charge for the Tickford Fords.
Reynolds slipped back to ninth as the session wore on, with Cam Waters rounding out the Top 10.
|1||97|| Earl Bamber |
Shane van Gisbergen
|Holden Commodore ZB||1'10.0763|
|2||17|| Alexandre Prémat |
|Ford Falcon FG X||1'10.2218||0.1455|
|3||12|| Tony D'Alberto |
|Ford Falcon FG X||1'10.4199||0.3436|
|4||1|| Jamie Whincup |
|Holden Commodore ZB||1'10.4788||0.4025|
|5||888|| Steven Richards |
|Holden Commodore ZB||1'10.6396||0.5633|
|6||18|| Lee Holdsworth |
|Holden Commodore ZB||1'10.6936||0.6173|
|7||11|| Rick Kelly |
|8||55|| Chaz Mostert |
|Ford Falcon FG X||1'10.7615||0.6852|
|9||9|| David Reynolds |
|Holden Commodore ZB||1'10.8028||0.7265|
|10||6|| David Russell |
|Ford Falcon FG X||1'10.8425||0.7662|
|11||2|| Warren Luff |
|Holden Commodore ZB||1'10.8887||0.8124|
|12||23|| Michael Caruso |
|13||25|| James Courtney |
|Holden Commodore ZB||1'10.9537||0.8774|
|14||7|| Andre Heimgartner |
|15||5|| Mark Winterbottom |
|Ford Falcon FG X||1'10.9870||0.9107|
|16||14|| Tim Slade |
|Holden Commodore ZB||1'11.0493||0.9730|
|17||8|| Nick Percat |
|Holden Commodore ZB||1'11.1655||1.0892|
|18||99|| Will Brown |
|Holden Commodore ZB||1'11.2461||1.1698|
|19||78|| Simona de Silvestro |
|20||19|| Jonathon Webb |
Jack Le Brocq
|Holden Commodore ZB||1'11.3945||1.3182|
|21||33|| Garth Tander |
|Holden Commodore ZB||1'11.6117||1.5354|
|22||34|| James Golding |
|Holden Commodore ZB||1'11.6147||1.5384|
|23||21|| Dale Wood |
|Holden Commodore ZB||1'11.6626||1.5863|
|24||230|| Alex Davison |
|Ford Falcon FG X||1'11.7949||1.7186|
|25||56|| Richie Stanaway |
|Ford Falcon FG X||1'11.9584||1.8821|
|26||35|| Bryce Fullwood |
|Ford Falcon FG X||1'12.4162||2.3399|
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