Sandown 500: Caruso leads practice, Penske and T8 tangle

Michael Caruso kept Nissan on top in the final practice at Sandown, while Fabian Coulthard and Shane van Gisbergen came to blows in tricky conditions.

Sandown 500: Caruso leads practice, Penske and T8 tangle
 Michael Caruso, Nissan Motorsport
Michael Caruso, Dean Fiore, Nissan Motorsports
 Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Ford
 Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Ford
 Rick Kelly, Nissan Motorsport
Shane van Gisbergen, Matt Campbell, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden

There were Nissans at or near the top of the times throughout the frantic 15-minute session, Rick Kelly going quickest midway through, before being joined by brother Todd Kelly shortly afterwards as conditions improved.

Caruso then went on a tear inside the last six minutes, making up 10 spots to go sixth fastest, before slotting into second on his next flyer with a 1m10.774s.

He then finished the job with a 1m.171s in the ever-improving conditions, which put him on top right before James Moffat went off at Turn 4 and brought out the red flag.

The session did briefly go green once Moffat’s Commodore had been recovered, giving the field a single lap to try and go quicker. But while there were some significant improvements, nobody could knock Caruso off top spot.

“The conditions were pretty difficult, because there are still a few wet patches,” said Caruso.

“It was hard to get a real judge on how the car is going to handle for qualifying, but it’s good that our car is good in a majority of conditions.”

Scott McLaughlin found some big gains on the final lap after the red flag, popping up in second with a 1m10.341s.

Rick Kelly didn’t go quicker and was demoted to third, while Brad Jones Racing pair Tim Slade and Nick Percat both went faster to finish fourth and fifth.

Todd Kelly dropped down to sixth thanks to the late improvements, while Cam Waters, Craig Lowndes, James Courtney, and Shane van Gisbergen all found gains on the final lap.

Van Gisbergen was involved in some controversy on that final lap, nudging DJR Team Penske driver into a spin at the final corner.

The Triple Eight star admitted fault on the radio and went to look for Coulthard after the session, while Coulthard was philosophical after finishing the session down in 25th.

“At the end of the day, there’s no rewind button for Shane,” he said. “Just cop it and move on, I’m not too fazed. It’s only practice .

“It is what it is. If he’s going to come down, he’s going to come down. He’s a decent enough person to do that, I’d expect it from him.”

ClaDriverCarLapsTimeGapIntervalkm/h
1 23 australia  Michael Caruso 
australia  Dean Fiore 
Nissan Altima 10 1'10.1714     159.039
2 17 france  Alexandre Prémat 
new_zealand  Scott McLaughlin 
Ford Falcon FG-X 11 1'10.3419 0.1705 0.1705 158.653
3 15 australia  Rick Kelly 
australia  David Wall 
Nissan Altima 10 1'10.4696 0.2982 0.1277 158.366
4 75 australia  Tim Slade 
australia  Ash Walsh 
Holden Commodore VF 10 1'10.6539 0.4825 0.1843 157.953
5 8 australia  Nick Percat 
australia  Macauley Jones 
Holden Commodore VF 10 1'10.6787 0.5073 0.0248 157.897
6 7 australia  Todd Kelly 
australia  Jack Le Brocq 
Nissan Altima 11 1'10.7311 0.5597 0.0524 157.780
7 6 new_zealand  Richie Stanaway 
australia  Cameron Waters 
Ford Falcon FG-X 10 1'10.7740 0.6026 0.0429 157.685
8 888 new_zealand  Steven Richards 
australia  Craig Lowndes 
Holden Commodore VF 11 1'10.8368 0.6654 0.0628 157.545
9 22 australia  James Courtney 
australia  Jack Perkins 
Holden Commodore VF 10 1'10.8478 0.6764 0.0110 157.520
10 97 new_zealand  Shane van Gisbergen 
australia  Matt Campbell 
Holden Commodore VF 11 1'10.8721 0.7007 0.0243 157.466
11 5 australia  Mark Winterbottom 
australia  Dean Canto 
Ford Falcon FG-X 11 1'10.9005 0.7291 0.0284 157.403
12 9 australia  David Reynolds 
Luke Youlden 
Holden Commodore VF 9 1'10.9832 0.8118 0.0827 157.220
13 34 australia  James Moffat 
australia  Richard Muscat 
Holden Commodore VF 11 1'11.0249 0.8535 0.0417 157.127
14 33 australia  Garth Tander 
australia  James Golding 
Holden Commodore VF 11 1'11.0501 0.8787 0.0252 157.072
15 88 australia  Jamie Whincup 
australia  Paul Dumbrell 
Holden Commodore VF 8 1'11.1864 1.0150 0.1363 156.771
16 18 australia  Lee Holdsworth 
australia  Karl Reindler 
Holden Commodore VF 11 1'11.2667 1.0953 0.0803 156.594
17 19 Jonathon Webb 
australia  Will Davison 
Holden Commodore VF 11 1'11.4334 1.2620 0.1667 156.229
18 2 australia  Warren Luff 
australia  Scott Pye 
Holden Commodore VF 11 1'11.4345 1.2631 0.0011 156.227
19 55 australia  Steven Owen 
australia  Chaz Mostert 
Ford Falcon FG-X 10 1'11.5741 1.4027 0.1396 155.922
20 99 australia  Dale Wood 
new_zealand  Chris Pither 
Holden Commodore VF 10 1'11.6679 1.4965 0.0938 155.718
21 4 australia  Tim Blanchard 
australia  Todd Hazelwood 
Holden Commodore VF 10 1'12.1377 1.9663 0.4698 154.704
22 3 australia  Aaren Russell 
australia  Taz Douglas 
Holden Commodore VF 10 1'12.4532 2.2818 0.3155 154.030
23 56 australia  Jason Bright 
australia  Garry Jacobson 
Ford Falcon FG-X 8 1'12.6480 2.4766 0.1948 153.617
24 78 switzerland  Simona de Silvestro 
australia  David Russell 
Nissan Altima 10 1'12.6802 2.5088 0.0322 153.549
25 12 Tony D'Alberto 
new_zealand  Fabian Coulthard 
Ford Falcon FG/X 8 1'12.8297 2.6583 0.1495 153.234
26 62 australia  Alex Davison 
australia  Alex Rullo 
Holden Commodore VF 8 1'14.1725 4.0011 1.3428 150.460
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