Coulthard breaks lap record at Bathurst

| Photographer Credit: Mark Horsburgh

Kiwi driver Fabian Coulthard scorched around the fabled Mt Panorama circuit to break his own practice lap record in the opening day of the V8 Supercars Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 today.

Coulthard saved just one hot lap on new tyres late in the day to push the Freightliners Holden to the fastest lap of 2:05.478 which was 0.2s inside the mark he set last year.

He headed off the all-conquering Prodrive Racing Fords of Sandown winner Mark Winterbottom, the ebullient Dave Reynolds and defending Bathurst champion Chaz Mostert.

It proved a good day for all the New Zealand drivers with Shane van Gisbergen prominent throughout the final practice session to finish sixth fastest; Andre Heimgartner pushed the Kiwi Super Black Racing Ford up to 11th fastest and Scott McLaughlin 13th quickest in the Volvo.

“I said last year that I didn’t think the 2:05.6 that we did was it, I felt we had more in, and so I think again we can go faster in the right conditions,” Coulthard said.

“The track was ultra-fast today. I was sweating just a little that my record would go. Up until that lap, the best I had done was a 2:07.7. I didn’t know just how good a lap it was. I didn’t try to do the maths as I was going around. I drove to the grip I had and that was the time we got.

“Naturally I am pretty happy. To go a couple of tenths faster than last year is pretty special but the way the weekend is panning out, it wouldn’t surprise me if it gets broken again.

“You drive to the grip and you get faster and faster throughout qualifying so I won’t be surprised if we see a quicker time than I just posted.”

The V8 Supercars have two further practice sessions tomorrow ahead of qualifying in the afternoon, with the Top-10 Shootout scheduled for Saturday afternoon and the 161-lap main show on Sunday.

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