Mustang who? Surprise Holden star tops Adelaide 500 Friday as Kiwis threaten
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After making one of the most controversial silly-season moves, Chaz Mostert has shown immediate promise in topping Friday practice for this weekend's Adelaide 500 — round one of the 2020 Supercars Championship.
Kiwi Scott McLaughlin led most of the 30-minute test, only to get undercut by the 2014 Bathurst champion right at the finish on his debut in a Holden.
Thursday's practice running was led by Erebus Motorsport's David Reynolds, leading Shane van Gisbergen, Davison, and new Walkinshaw Andretti United Holden recruit Chaz Mostert via a 1:20.6864. Earlier today meanwhile in practice two, van Gisbergen was quickest with a 1:19.807 over Davison and Jamie Whincup. And then in practice three, Mostert led Scott McLaughlin and the consistent Davison.
Practice two was relatively uneventful until Davison crashed at turn 11 some 10 minutes in. He tapped the wall lightly and beached his new-look Milwaukee Tools Mustang to pause the clock. Another red flag was then prompted with seven minutes to go, this time for a much heavier crash for Pye. The new Team18 DeWalt ace had a steering failure in the middle of turn seven, before jetting into the outside concrete wall at high speed.
What the latter created was a seven-minute sprint to the flag to finish the run. Cameron Waters was the first to jump, improving to second place, but his would be the first of several changes to the order. Van Gisbergen hopped up to first on a rapid 1:19.807, and it looked like Holdsworth would appear somewhere similar by a missed apex at the final corner ruined those hopes.
Instead it was Davison who jumped up; hopping into second ahead of Whincup. Mostert improved too in the final few seconds from eighth to fifth. In the end, nobody could match van Gisbergen. He led ahead of Davison, Whincup, Waters, Mostert, Reynolds, McLaughlin, Coulthard, de Pasquale, and Winterbottom.
In practice three, Davison was once again a factor. He led early on with a 1:20.501, until getting bettered by a monstrous 1:19.746 from McLaughlin. It was this session that would help shape tomorrow's qualifying running; with the top 10 finishers gaining automatic qualification for tomorrow's second qualifying test.
McLaughlin bettered his time to an ultra competitive 1:19.524 at the session's halfway point, and it continued to stand into the final 10 minutes. Mostert came close a few times to position himself in second, ahead of Reynolds, Davison, and Whincup. And that order was preserved into the final five minutes.
And in the closing moments McLaughlin's time was under huge attack. Big times from Davison, de Pasquale, and Reynolds came close — but ultimately it was a massive surprise time from Mostert that toppled the Kiwi, in the form of a 1:19.241 on his debut in a Holden.
By the end of it, the top 10 was Mostert, McLaughlin, Davison, Winterbottom, de Pasquale, Whincup, Reynolds, Waters, van Gisbergen, and Nick Percat completed the drivers automatically skipping qualifying one tomorrow. Rick Kelly on debut in Kelly Racing's first Ford Mustang narrowly missed out on a top 10 berth, as did Holdsworth, Coulthard, and Heimgartner in 14th. Chris Pither, on his return to the series, completed the Kiwi contingent in 19th.
Supercars, Superloop Adelaide 500, Practice 3
1. Chaz Mostert
2. Scott McLaughlin
3. Will Davison
4. Mark Winterbottom
5. Anton de Pasquale
6. Jamie Whincup
7. David Reynolds
8. Cameron Waters
9. Shane van Gisbergen
10. Nick Percat
11. Rick Kelly
12. Lee Holdsworth
13. Fabian Coulthard
14. Andre Heimgartner
15. Jack le Brocq
16. Bryce Fullwood
17. Todd Hazelwood
18. Garry Jacobson
19. Chris Pither
20. Zane Goddard
21. Macauley Jones
22. Jack Smith
23. James Courtney