Team 18’s Scott Pye has set the pace in the sole practice session for the WD-40 Townsville SuperSprint.
With this weekend’s seventh event of the Repco Supercars Championship a late addition to the calendar, and coming straight after one at the same Reid Park Street Circuit, each driver was allocated 12 pre-marked and 20 event marked tyres for the two days of action.
While that meant most would have had to dip into the tyres they will use for qualifying and racing if they wanted to run a green during the 45-minute hit-out, several reportedly still had new hoops in their pre-marked bank.
Among those were Pye, who was the only driver into the twelves, in his #20 DeWalt ZB Commodore, while Anton De Pasquale managed second-fastest in the #11 Shell V-Power Mustang despite apparently having only used pre-marked rubber.
James Courtney (#44 Boost Mobile Mustang), another with new tyres in the bank, ended up third, one spot up on Red Bull Ampol Racing’s championship leader, Shane van Gisbergen.
Those two were also involved in one of the stranger moments of the session, with Courtney and van Gisbergen (#97 ZB Commodore) making early nose-to-tail contact on an out lap at Turn 2.
Pye said at the conclusion of practice, and after a tough outing last week, It’s hard to pick yourself up after that weekend but we’re lucky, we had five days and then you get to have another crack at it. The guys have done a big turnaround this week to get all the cars back to where they should be.
To be honest, our race pace last weekend was good, we were just three laps down but we ran with Jamie Whincup and Shane. I don’t know if that made me feel better or worse watching the two leaders and driving with them for 88 laps, but the car is good. We just need to keep our focus, keep our chin up and try to get something out of this weekend before we go home.
Jamie Whincup (#88 Red Bull Ampol ZB Commodore) had been fastest after the first flyers with a 1:14.3134s and set a 1:14.2172s on his second, before Todd Hazelwood (#14 Tools.com ZB Commodore) clocked a 1:13.9944s.
Hazelwood was quickly usurped by Zane Goddard (#35 Yellow Cover ZB Commodore) on a 1:13.8826s, then David Reynolds (#26 Penrite Mustang) went top with a 1:13.5371s on his first run proper.
Cameron Waters (#6 Monster Energy Mustang), who is without regular engineer Sam Potter this weekend due to surgery, was next to take the ascendancy with a 1:13.4174s on his second run, almost 10 minutes in.
De Pasquale went second-quickest with a 1:13.4878s on his second run, and that was the last change to the top three until the 28th minute, when Nick Percat (#8 R&J Batteries ZB Commodore) set a 1:13.5116s.
The fastest lap was finally reset when Will Brown (#9 Pedders ZB Commodore) rolled out a 1:13.3411s on his fifth run with just over 10 minutes remaining. Reynolds went third with a 1:13.4832s after another five minutes, just before Pye set the 1:12.9331s which would be the fastest lap of the session.
De Pasquale subsequently moved to second on a 1:13.0982s, while Courtney ended up third with a 1:13.2298s and van Gisbergen fourth with a 1:13.2728s just before the chequered flag.
Jack Le Brocq (#5 Truck Assist Mustang) made for Tickford Racing entries third and fifth, with Brown sixth, from Hazelwood, Waters, and Bryce Fullwood (#2 Mobil 1 Middy’s ZB Commodore).
Whincup rounded out the top 10 on a 1:13.4437s, ahead of Percat, Reynolds, and Chaz Mostert (#25 Mobil 1 Appliances Online ZB Commodore).