Sandown 500: Whincup edges McLaughlin in final practice

Jamie Whincup put a Red Bull-backed Triple Eight car on top for the first time this weekend, leading the way in the fourth and final practice session for the Sandown 500 by just 0.0002s.

Sandown 500: Whincup edges McLaughlin in final practice
Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Scott McLaughlin and David Wall, Garry Rogers Motorsport Volvo
Shane van Gisberge and Alexander Premat, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Garth Tander and Warren Luff, Holden Racing Team
Garth Tander and Warren Luff, Holden Racing Team
Fabian Coulthard and Luke Youlden, Team Penske Ford
Scott Pye and Tony D’alberto, DJR Team Penske

Whincup sat second behind Volvo’s McLaughlin when the session was red flagged for debris with 11 minutes to go, but had the best of the final 10 minutes of running with a 1m08.924s to match McLaughlin’s near identical time.

The difference fell in Whincup’s favour by just 0.0002s, and with McLaughlin failing to improve on his final run it was enough to secure P1.

“There's nothing in it,” said the points leader. “It’s only practice. The car is in reasonable condition, we’ll keep tuning and see what we can do with it in quali.

“There’s a big difference in conditions today, it’s much warmer than yesterday. It’s a big balancing act going on behind the scenes with the engineers.”

Behind McLaughlin, Shane van Gisbergen popped up in third late in the session. It took the Kiwi forever to set a representative time, going all the way from 23rd to third with a 1m08.989s just 90 seconds from the end.

It was van Gisbergen’s cool down lap that garnered the most attention, however. The #97 Triple Eight Commodore got in the road of a flying Garth Tander, who was set for a decent improvement after setting a purple second sector. Having been baulked Tander was unable to improve, and finished the session in sixth.

“Sightseeing Kiwi at Dandenong Road. It’s nice, the sun’s out, so why wouldn’t you stop and go slow?” joked Tander afterwards. “It’s only practice. We were up the front pretty much all session, so it’s encouraging going into qualifying. It would be nice to do the lap time, but next session is when it counts.”

Penske’s Fabian Coulthard finished up fourth fastest, falling just short of breaking into the 1m08s. James Courtney was next ahead of Holden Racing Team team-mate Tander, with Chaz Mostert (Prodrive Ford) and Scott Pye (Penske Ford) next in line.

Andre Heimgartner was a late improver to slot into ninth for LD Motorsport, with Will Davison bouncing back from a tough opening day in the Tekno Commodore to round out the Top 10.

The most noteworthy omission from the Top 10 was Craig Lowndes, who was just 12th in the #888 after Steve Richards was so fast in the car during the co-driver sessions yesterday. The #1 Prodrive Ford finished down the order too, Mark Winterbottom’s time just 15th fastest.

Despite the track being bone dry, it was declared wet for the session so that teams could road wet tyres ahead of forecasted heavy rain tomorrow.

shares
comments
Richards braced for Sandown soft tyre “soap opera”

Previous article

Richards braced for Sandown soft tyre “soap opera”

Next article

Sandown 500: Mostert grabs provisional pole

Sandown 500: Mostert grabs provisional pole
Load comments
How taming his temper shaped Supercars' slow-burn star Prime

How taming his temper shaped Supercars' slow-burn star

His decision to leave Brad Jones Racing was the biggest shock of the Australian Supercars silly season so far. But for Nick Percat, it comes as the culmination of a personal journey that has made him into one of the most rounded drivers in the series, now in search of a seat that can make him a champion

Supercars
Sep 17, 2021
Why replacing Supercars' GOAT with a teenager is worth the risk for T8 Prime

Why replacing Supercars' GOAT with a teenager is worth the risk for T8

On the face of it, picking an 18-year-old rookie to replace arguably the greatest Supercars driver of all time is a risky move. But as Jamie Whincup takes up a team principal role and hands his car to Broc Feeney, it's one that he is confident will be rewarded in the fullness of time - time which wasn't afforded to Whincup in his early days

Supercars
Sep 1, 2021
How Randle went from fighting cancer to battling for Supercars contention Prime

How Randle went from fighting cancer to battling for Supercars contention

After his fledgling career was paused by a battle with testicular cancer, Thomas Randle then had to wrestle with finding a drive in Supercars after he got the all-clear. It's been a long road for the Melbourne native but, after two lengthy battles, he's finally got a full-time drive to look forward to

Supercars
Jun 29, 2021
How crisis talks over Supercars’ Gen3 future could leave it without a paddle Prime

How crisis talks over Supercars’ Gen3 future could leave it without a paddle

With Supercars’ Gen3 era on the horizon, a shift is set to take place – in more ways than one – but, as has become clear in recent weeks, the plan to bin the stick and use paddles with electronic assisted shift has been met with fierce opposition

Supercars
May 24, 2021
Can DJR still be a Supercars powerhouse after Penske? Prime

Can DJR still be a Supercars powerhouse after Penske?

Roger Penske's whirlwind Australian Supercars sojourn is over. After six seasons, three drivers' titles, three teams' championships and a Bathurst 1000 crown, The Captain has sold his controlling stake in Dick Johnson Racing back to the squad and walked away from the category.

Supercars
Feb 26, 2021
Can Whincup be Triple Eight's ruthless leader? Prime

Can Whincup be Triple Eight's ruthless leader?

Supercars' most successful team of the past 15 years is set for a radical shakeup next year when Jamie Whincup retires from driving and takes over the reins at Triple Eight. But does he have what it takes to be the new Roland Dane?

Supercars
Feb 8, 2021
How a lifetime Supercars deal broke down in one year Prime

How a lifetime Supercars deal broke down in one year

David Reynolds inked what was effectively a lifetime deal with Erebus in 2019 – only to walk out a year later. What went wrong?

Supercars
Dec 18, 2020
Why Supercars now needs a new "human salt harvester" Prime

Why Supercars now needs a new "human salt harvester"

Scott McLaughlin has been a controversial figure in Supercars over the past few years but, as he heads off to a fresh challenge in IndyCar, the Australian tin-top series needs to find someone else to fill his drama-filled boots as the category enters a new era...

Supercars
Nov 3, 2020