16 Jun 2018
Scott McLaughlin and Rick Kelly have led the way in Friday practice ahead of Saturday's opening race at Hidden Valley.
Kelly led the time sheets with a 1:06:5 in the first session of the day, but it was McLaughlin who was quickest overall - going another four tenths faster in the final session in his Shell V-Power Racing Falcon.
But Kelly - who rejoined the winner's circle at the last round in Winton - was second quickest in Practice 2, boding well for another good showing from the Nissan Motorsport stable.
Fabian Coulthard was the next-quickest Falcon, though four tenths off the pace, while the Triple Eight Commodores of Jamie Whincup, Craig Lowndes and Shane Van Gisbergen were all comfortably on the pace and inside the top six.
"We worked through a good plan all day, and to end up on top is nice," McLaughlin said.
"I think the car was pretty strong from the outset, and we just tuned it up as we went along, not having to make any major changes or anything like that.
"It was pretty smooth running.”
With Michael Caruso also featuring inside the top five during both sessions, Nissan Motorsport is sitting pretty heading into Saturday's qualifying.
"We decided to try something different than everyone - we went on our better tyres on the first lap and then concentrated on our race pace for the rest of the sessions," Rick Kelly explained.
"The car is pretty quick in a one-lap dash. There’s still a few corners we need to tidy up to give us a strong package.
"Our start in Darwin has been very good and hopefully now sets up a strong weekend for us here."
After struggling by his usual standards early in 2018, defending series champion Jamie Whincup is bullish ahead of qualifying after posting the third fastest time on Friday.
“We could go like a busted in quali tomorrow. [But] early signs say it’s pretty good,” Whincup said.
Saturday action in Hidden Valley features final practice, qualifying and then the first of two races for the round.
Hidden Valley - Practice 2
- Scott McLaughlin, Shell V-Power Racing Team (Ford) 1:06.1587
- Rick Kelly, Castrol Racing (Nissan) +0:00.0412
- Jamie Whincup, Red Bull Holden Racing Team (Holden) +0:00.1632
- Michael Caruso, Drive Racing (Nissan) +0:00.2138
- Craig Lowndes, Autobarn Lowndes Racing (Holden) +0:00.3129
- Shane Van Gisbergen, Red Bull Holden Racing Team (Holden) +0:00.3386
- David Reynolds, Erebus Penrite Racing (Holden) +0:00.3983
- Fabian Coulthard, Shell V-Power Racing Team (Ford) +0:00.4308
- Andre Heimgartner, Plus Fitness Racing (Nissan) +0:00.4429
- Tim Blanchard, Team CoolDrive (Holden) +0:00.4477