Newcastle Supercars: McLaughlin finishes Friday on top
Scott McLaughlin ended Friday's Supercars running in Newcastle as the man to beat, topping the second and final practice session by less than a tenth.
McLaughlin's title rival Shane van Gisbergen wasted little time early in the session, diving below the 1m11s bracket on his first run with a 1m10.883s.
He was joined in the 1m10s by teammate Jamie Whincup shortly afterwards, the outgoing champion banking a 1m10.650s, before McLaughlin went comfortably fastest with a 1m10.475s.
Cam Waters joined the lead bunch with a little over 10 minutes to go, slotting in between McLaughlin and Whincup with a 1m10.647s.
There were dramas on the other side of the Tickford garage at the same time, however, with Richie Stanaway's Falcon requiring a lengthy repair after the Kiwi side-swiped the wall.
With a little over two minutes to go a number of contenders rolled out on new rubber, hinting at a qualifying sim shootout to finish off the session.
However it was surprisingly subdued, Whincup the only driver to make a meaningful improvement on his final run as he jumped Waters to go second, 0.08s slower than McLaughlin's earlier benchmark.
That left McLaughlin on top, despite running wide on his qualifying sim lap.
“I felt like on my green tyre lap, before I went wide at Turn 2, out of Turn 1 I was fast, I was up on what I’d been all day," he said.
“I’m not sure if the track went away in other areas, but overall we’ve had a really good day and everything feels alright.
“The time that we did with the 10.4s, we found a combination that we really liked, then we went away and tried a few other things and came back.
“Even though there was lots of springs and dampers, everything was pretty good and we tried everything that we wanted to.
“It’s going to be all about qualifying here, the race is going to be a long race but track position is key and that’s what we’re working on.”
McLaughlin's teammate Fabian Coulthard was fourth quickest, ahead of late improvers James Courtney and Nick Percat.
Van Gisbergen slipped back to seventh after making a minuscule gain on his final run, followed by David Reynolds, Scott Pye, and Anton De Pasquale.
The title showdown continues tomorrow with qualifying for Race 1 at 11:35am local time.
Second practice results:
|1||17||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Falcon FG X||1'10.4756|
|2||1||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||1'10.5626||0.0870|
|3||6||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG X||1'10.6473||0.1717|
|4||12||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG X||1'10.7861||0.3105|
|5||25||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||1'10.8220||0.3464|
|6||8||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||1'10.8332||0.3576|
|7||97||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||1'10.8342||0.3586|
|8||9||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||1'10.8478||0.3722|
|9||2||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||1'10.8506||0.3750|
|10||99||Anton De Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||1'10.8570||0.3814|
|11||18||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore ZB||1'10.8899||0.4143|
|12||888||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore ZB||1'10.8929||0.4173|
|13||55||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG X||1'10.9099||0.4343|
|14||7||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||1'10.9944||0.5188|
|15||5||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG X||1'11.0011||0.5255|
|16||78||Simona de Silvestro||Nissan Altima||1'11.0815||0.6059|
|17||14||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||1'11.0951||0.6195|
|18||23||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||1'11.1056||0.6300|
|19||33||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore ZB||1'11.1316||0.6560|
|20||15||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1'11.1489||0.6733|
|21||21||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore ZB||1'11.1767||0.7011|
|22||230||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG X||1'11.2167||0.7411|
|23||19||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||1'11.3493||0.8737|
|24||56||Richie Stanaway||Ford Falcon FG X||1'11.3786||0.9030|
|25||34||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||1'11.4255||0.9499|
|26||35||Todd Hazelwood||Ford Falcon FG X||1'11.4627||0.9871|
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