Tickford Racing’s Cameron Waters has set the pace on Practice 1 for the Repco Bathurst 1000.
The 2020 Great Race runner-up went tantalisingly close to the ‘fours’ in the opening one-hour session of the event, driving the #6 Monster Energy Mustang to a late 2:05.0233s.
That left Waters 0.0842s ahead of Walkinshaw Andretti United’s Chaz Mostert (#25 Mobil 1 Appliances Online ZB Commodore) and 0.1157s up on the Shell V-Power Racing Team’s Will Davison in the only all-in session of the day.
James Courtney made for two Tickford entries in the top four, with 2020 Bathurst 1000 winner Shane van Gisbergen seventh-fastest in the #888 Red Bull Ampol Racing entry at a sunny Mount Panorama.
Practice 1 had barely got going when Brad Jones Racing’s Macauley Jones came to a halt just beyond The Cutting with smoke billowing from the #96 Coca-Cola ZB Commodore, causing a red flag.
It was initially suspected that the drama was engine-related but was later reported to be a power steering failure, with work undertaken to change the rack.
Only Will Davison (#17 Mustang) had set a time before the interruption, that being a 2:09.3379s which was easily bettered once everyone was let loose again with 54 minutes left on the clock.
Mostert did so by the most initially when he drove the #25 ZB Commodore to a 2:06.0068s, and was one of three drivers in the ‘fives’ next time around.
By then, however, he was third, behind Erebus Motorsport’s Brodie Kostecki on a 2:05.5557s in the #99 Boost Mobile ZB Commodore and Todd Hazelwood on a 2:05.6599s in the #14 Cub Cadet ZB Commodore.
Will Brown made it two Erebus cars in the top three when he clocked a 2:05.7491s on his second run proper in the #9 Shaw And Partners ZB Commodore, before Mostert moved back up to second spot on a 2:05.5564s, seven ten-thousandths off the pace.
That was followed by a prolonged lull at the top of the timing screen with no movement until just over 10 minutes to go, when Waters vaulted from 14th to the top with a 2:05.4927s.
It represented the start of a mini flurry as Hazelwood went second on a 2:05.5382s and then Mostert back to the very top with a 2:05.1075s in quick succession.
As more went for green tyres, the timing screen lit up in the final five minutes.
Mark Winterbottom jumped from 17th to second with a 2:05.3981s in the #18 Irwin Tools ZB Commodore then, in the final two minutes, Waters clocked the 2:05.0233s which was exactly as fast as he had gone in topping Practice 1 in 2020.
Van Gisbergen got as high as fourth with a subsequent 2:05.4753s, before his final lap was ruined with an off at The Chase for this year’s Repco Supercars Championship winner.
With the chequered flag out, Courtney (#44 Boost Mobile Mustang) moved into third place on a 2:05.3685s but was quickly usurped by Will Davison on a 2:05.1390s.
The top five all-told was thus Waters, Mostert, Will Davison, Courtney, and Winterbottom, with Tim Slade sixth in the #3 CoolDrive Mustang on a 2:05.4113s.
Rounding out the top 10 were van Gisbergen, Hazelwood, Nick Percat (#8 R&J Batteries ZB Commodore), and Brodie Kostecki, with Jamie Whincup 11th in the #88 Red Bull Ampol ZB Commodore.
Anton De Pasquale was 15th-quickest on a 2:05.7984s after Dick Johnson Racing reportedly experimented with rear wing settings on the #11 Shell V-Power Mustang, while Triple Eight Race Engineering wildcard Broc Feeney ended up 17th in the #39 Supercheap Auto ZB Commodore on a 2:05.9075s.
BJR gave Dean Fiore the final run of the session in Hazelwood’s #14 ZB Commodore, Team 18 did likewise with James Golding in Scott Pye’s #20 DeWalt ZB Commodore, and Team Sydney’s Jonathon Webb had a spell in Fabian Coulthard’s #19 Local Legends ZB Commodore, but that was the extent of the co-driver running.
Macauley Jones did get back out with just over 10 minutes to go to set a 2:07.5453s which put him 23rd on the timesheet.
Matt Stone Racing’s Jake Kostecki wound up last, spending time in the garage in the latter minutes of the session due to a suspected sticking throttle in the #34 Unit ZB Commodore.