A CLUTCH lap late in the day has delivered Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia championship leader Harri Jones the fastest time in practice on the streets of Surfers Paradise.
Leaving his run late in the day, Jones’ 1m11.7935s flyer was not only enough to put him on top of the charts, it stands as the quickest ever lap of the shortened Surfers circuit for a Porsche GT3 Cup Car.
Adrian Flack topped the Morris Pro-Am leaderboard across the pair of 25-minute sessions in a day of high drama for contenders in both the Pro and Pro-Am categories.
Jones’ last-ditch flyer came at the end of a brutal second session that saw several cars stranded, near misses and a Friday afternoon shootout to see who gets pit exit preference for Qualifying tomorrow.
Jones leads the championship by 74 points heading into the final three races of the year, with Aaron Love and Dylan O’Keeffe a little over one full race behind the Queenslander.
In the end, Jones led David Russell, Dale Wood and Callum Hedge, with Luke Youlden and Nick McBride next.
Title contender Dylan O’Keeffe was seventh and just ahead of Aaron Love.
Love was quick early in both sessions however clipped the tyre bundles at the beach chicane late in practice two.
The damage broke the steering on his Sonic Porsche, Duvashen Padayachee and Dean Cook taking evasive action as they ran into Turn 11 in a near miss for the latter pair.
The session was red-flagged for the cleanup setting in motion a qualifying-style shootout at the end to set the quickest time.
Almost ever driver improved in the final run with Jones’ flyer looking unlikely to be surpassed before Russell’s last lap saw him draw to within 0.2 seconds of the title leader.
Behind the top eight, Max Vidau and David Wall completed the top-10 overall on Friday’s times.
Morris Pro-Am was similarly intense with Adrian Flack ending up on top.
Championship leader Geoff Emery had a challenging day as he ended up in the barriers at turn two in the second session – he ended the day fifth in Pro-Am and behind nearest class title contender, Dean Cook, who was second.
Emery has a narrow lead over Cook in the Pro-Am standings, despite the latter not yet having scored a race win this year.
Behind Flack, Shahin and Cook, Tim Miles was fourth in class with Emery next.
Liam Talbot, Matt Belford, Rodney Jane, Marc Cini and Scott Taylor completed the Pro-Am leaderboard.
A pair of 10-minute sessions will decide the grid for Morris Pro-Am and then the Pro class on Saturday morning on the Gold Coast.
Harri Jones, fastest Pro:
“Definitely a good session for us, it was a tight one. We only really got two laps of running at the end there on those green tyres, we had to get our prep laps right and then get it set-up and go. Awesome track, it’s a home race for me here this weekend, I’ve been doing loads of laps on this circuit all year, on my push bike and in the car, but overall a really good Friday for us. We have a 10 minute qualifying session tomorrow morning, so the fact that we’re going out first is a really good result for us. We’ll tune it up a little a bit tonight and going again tomorrow.”
Adrian Flack, fastest Morris Pro-Am
“That was a really good session to get the dust and the cobwebs out in the first round. Then just to start to build and work on a few things the second round, that we didn’t get right in the first. The car felt really good, so as I got more confidence, I started push it through a few corners a bit more and picked up some time. Looking forward to tomorrow.”
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