Series leader Matt Campbell has shown strong initial pace in Mount Panorama practice as the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia presented by Hytera championship kicks off its penultimate 2016 event, while Tony Bates bounced back from a horror Sandown round to top the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge times.
David Wall was the early pace-setter in practice one, a session interrupted by a short red flag period, ahead of Campbell and Steven Richards.
Track time in the second session was then significantly reduced after Dean Fiore made heavy contact with the concrete barrier at the entrance of The Dipper, ending his day and halting the session for a lengthy period.
With limited time available upon the session restarting, the majority of the field could only manage one flying lap, while Campbell was one of three drivers who were able to post two flying laps at the end of the session, the last of which was the fastest of the day.
“The second session was tight for time after the red flag so it’s going to be a difficult qualifying as it was hard to get a read on the car after only a few laps. We have good pace and hopefully we can do well in qualifying tomorrow,” said Campbell, who is gunning for a record equalling six-straight TAG Heuer Pole Position.
“It would be great to get six-straight pole positions, though anything can happen around this place. Qualifying is our biggest strength; I really like that green Michelin tyre and it’s very enjoyable around this circuit. I’m looking forward to it.”
Wall was the second quickest driver of the day from Richards, Ash Walsh, Michael Almond, Nick McBride and Alex Davison in seventh.
Fiore, who posted the eighth best time of the day, was taken to the circuit’s Medical Centre for precautionary checks after the practice two accident, suffering only general soreness from the impact. Fiore’s car received significant damage on the left-hand rear corner; initial indications suggesting the car will return to the race track for Friday’s qualifying session.
Garth Walden was ninth fastest for the day, followed by the leading TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge driver, Tony Bates, who had a strong Thursday showing following a disastrous final race at the Sandown round last month, where he made heavy contact with the turn eight barrier and losing what would have been a round clean sweep.
“It’s really good to get out on the track and build some confidence as this is very much a confidence track. Unfortunately we all didn’t get as many laps as we would have liked due to a couple of incidents. The team has done a great job getting the car prepared for this event, I’m feeling confident and I’m looking forward to a good weekend,” said Bates.
“Sandown was like falling off a horse. You’ve got to get back on the horse and get going again for Bathurst. That’s the aim for the last two rounds, to show the strong form we had early in the year and hopefully win as many races for the rest of the year as we can.”
Two-time Bathurst 1000 winner Tony Longhurst had a strong debut outing in the Porsche series, finishing the day 11th quickest from fellow Guest driver Max Twigg, Duvashen Padayachee, James Abela and Shane Smollen in 15th outright and second in class.
Porsche Carrera Cup Australia presented by Hytera will return to the Mount Panorama circuit Friday morning for qualifying, followed by the opening race of the weekend at 2:25pm.
Double Duty: Porsche Carrera Cup Australia/Supercars Championship
#7 carsales Racing – Todd Kelly/Matt Campbell
#14 Freightliner Racing – Tim Slade/Ash Walsh
#23 Nissan Motorsport – Michael Caruso/Dean Fiore
#33 Wilson Security Racing GRM – Scott McLaughlin/David Wall
#888 TeamVortex – Craig Lowndes/Steven Richards
Friday October 07, 2016
10:10am Qualifying (20minutes)
2:25pm Race 1 (9 laps)
Saturday October 08, 2016
4:30pm Race 2 (9 laps)
Sunday October 09, 2016
9:30am Race 3 (9 laps)
Combined Times – Practice 1 & Practice 2
1. #7 Matt Campbell (Outright) Nuveau Constructions/Phase 8, 2:09.0229*
2. #38 David Wall (Outright) Wilson Security, 2:09.2524s
3. #12 Steven Richards (Outright) Laser Plumbing and Electrical, 2:10.1607s
4. #777 Ash Walsh (Outright) Bob Jane T-Marts/Infants Friend, 2:10.5430s
5. #26 Michael Almond (Outright) Copyworld, 2:10.8701s
6. #77 Nick McBride (Outright) Bob Jane T-Marts, 2:10.9195s
7. #25 Alex Davison (Outright) Wilson Parking, 2:11.0569s
8. #8 Dean Fiore (Outright) Saint/Porsche Centre Melbourne, 2:11.5714s
9. #21 Garth Walden (Outright) Commercial Interior Projects, 2:11.6653s
10. #24 Tony Bates (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Moveitnet/C Tech Laser, 2:12.1564s
11. #11 Tony Longhurst (Guest) The Boatworks, 2:12.2403s
12. #18 Max Twigg (Guest) DNA Racing/Beyond Blue, 2:12.5472s
13. #45 Duvashen Padayachee (Outright) Darrell Lea STIX, 2:13.1728s
14. #54 James Abela (Outright) Horsley Park Gun Shop, 2:13.3183s
15. #56 Shane Smollen (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) McGrath Estate Agents, 2:13.4259s
16. #13 James Bergmuller (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) pricepressure.com.au, 2:14.0509s
17. #4 Stephen Grove (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Grove Hire, 2:14.2672s
18. #39 Adrian Mastronardo (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Veritas Property Group, 2:14.3474s
19. #88 Dylan O’Keeffe (Outright) All Star Equipment Sales/APB Group, 2:14.4613s
20. #32 Daniel Stutterd (Guest) DJS Racing, 2:15.1609s
21. #9 Marc Cini (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Hallmarc, 2:16.7760s
22. #222 Scott Taylor (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Scott Taylor Motorsport, 2:19.4516s