ITM SuperSprint: Whincup quickest in practice, McLaughlin crashes
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Red Bull Holden Racing Team driver Jamie Whincup has ended day one of the ITM Auckland SuperSprint at Pukekohe Raceway on top of practice, with Richie Stanaway the quickest of the New Zealanders in seventh.
The dual 40-minute practice sessions couldn't have been more different. The opening test was relatively straightforward, with few incidents. The second session on the other hand was packed with red flags for numerous incidents.
The largest of those was for a heavy crash at turn two for Scott McLaughlin. The series leader lost control of his Shell V-Power Racing Falcon while tackling the corner's iconic kerbs; the result seeing him fire wide and into the tyre wall front first.
It capped off a mixed day for the Kiwi. He was the quickest driver in opening practice (on a 1:03.115), heading the Triple Eight trio of Craig Lowndes, Shane van Gisbergen, and Whincup.
"Just trying to find a little bit more of a driving thing that I've been working on into there, I just overstepped the mark, completely my fault," McLaughlin said.
"Sorry to everyone at Shell V-Power Racing, I've given them a whole lot of work that they didn't need, I'll give myself a good kick up the arse and come back tomorrow.
"We've been locking into there all run, so I've been running a little bit more brake bias since the start of that session. I just lost the rear braking into 2 there, lost it and it was gone, passenger."
But with McLaughlin forced to slump to 24th in the second practice session, results were turned on their head. All the red-flag interruptions (caused by a crash for Todd Hazelwood and mechanical problems in pit-lane for Andre Heimgartner) set up a changeable final run to the finish.
Numerous cars spent time occupying first place, but in the end it went to Whincup on a 1:02.675. David Reynolds and Mark Winterbottom were second and third, with Chaz Mostert, Scott Pye, and Rick Kelly completing the top six.
Stanaway and van Gisbergen were the two Kiwis in the top 10 in seventh and eighth, while Lowndes and Tim Slade rounded out the top 10.
Support class racing kicks off tomorrow at 8.50am, with the Supercars Championship hitting the track for the first time at 10.25am for Practice 3. Qualifying will subsequently take place at 1.40pm, with Race 28 scheduled for 4.10pm.