Jones paces Porsche Practice as Kiwi adventure gets on track

| Photographer Credit: Ross Hyde

PORSCHE PAYNTER Dixon Carrera Cup Australia championship leader Harri Jones has picked up where he left off at Round 1, topping the charts in practice as the championship made its debut in Taupo, New Zealand today.

Jones’ 1m26.6403s saw his Hastings Deering CAT / Porsche Centre Melbourne Motorsport #12 car top the Equity One Professional class order ahead of Round 1 runner-up Dale Wood’s Connected Spaces / EMB Porsche and Dexion / GWR Australia’s Dylan O’Keeffe.

The same three drivers topped each of today’s 25-minute sessions as the field got up to speed at the 3.2km Taupo circuit.

Jones’ benchmark lap was only 0.2 seconds slower than the quickest time recorded in the Supercars Championship practice session, with the Taupo twists and turns well suited to the Type-992 GT3 Cup Cars.

“It was a really good day. This is a pretty awesome circuit and it’s great to be in New Zealand for the first visit by Carrera Cup Australia. The car felt awesome and the team and the preparation coming in have been great,” Jones said.

“It feels like we have rolled in our momentum from the Grand Prix which is awesome.

“I think the weather tomorrow looks challenging which means everything we learned today we throw out the window – I’m OK with the wet, I got a lot of laps last year in Europe in the rain and have a few tips and tricks up my sleeve.

“Regardless, it’s Carrera Cup – it’s always close in qualifying so we’ll see how it lands.”

Sam Fillmore – photo Ross Hyde

Adrian Flack was quickest in the SP Tools Pro-Am class while the pair of New Zealand entrants – Rick Armstrong and Sam Fillmore – were competitive against their Aussie rivals in what is brewing as a competitive trans-Tasman battle this weekend.

Both sessions ran without stoppage with most drivers recording up to 25 laps today.

Friday practice was run in overcast and cool conditions however track conditions changed dramatically between the first and second sessions, the latter 25-minutes run following a 90-minute Supercars practice session.

On combined times, Jones’ was 0.2 seconds quicker than Wood with O’Keeffe third.

Tom McLennan was a strong fourth outright in his McLennan Motorsport entry, just 0.3 seconds behind the leader.

Glen Wood was fifth in the Ranbuild EBM car with Fabian Coulthard sixth in the second BWT PCMM entry. Scott Taylor Motorsport’s Nash Morris was strong in seventh with David Russell’s TekworkX entry next.

Marco Giltrap (main photo) and Jackson Walls completed the top-10, with the group covered by exactly one second.

Adrian Flack topped the SP Tools Pro-Am class and was 16th outright, 0.4 seconds quicker than Sam Fillmore’s International Motorsport entry.

Dean Cook, Rick Armstrong and Matt Slavin completed the Pro-Am runners across the pair of practice sessions.

The Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia field rolls into qualifying tomorrow at 9:05am local time, with the 30-minute session to set the grid for both race one and race two this weekend.

The first race will then be held at 1:55pm on Saturday afternoon prior to the first Repco Supercars Championship race of the weekend.

All sessions tomorrow will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 506, Kayo Sports and Sky Sports New Zealand.

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