Scott McLaughlin has dominated at The Bend Motorsport Park in South Australia today, topping the timesheets in both Australia Supercars practice sessions along with re-setting the lap record ahead of the OTR SuperSprint this weekend.
Fabian Coulthard also had a strong day, finishing practice in fourth position to book himself a straight shot into Q2 tomorrow.
The speed comes after the Shell V-Power Racing Team had an average weekend at this venue in 2018, and the team has pushed hard to ensure that the same did not occur again 12 months later.
“After our poor showing here last year, we came to The Bend this year with plenty of motivation to do a good job,” commented McLaughlin. “The team has worked extremely hard to make sure we had good cars, and we’ve rolled out of the truck with a nice base set-up.
“We focused on qualifying today, and to get the lap record was pretty satisfying. We’ll use practice in the morning to have a look at our race pace, but the team have done a really good job and put a great car under me.”
The day opened with four-time Bathurst 1000 winner turned TV pundit Greg Murphy taking over both of the Shell V-Power Mustangs for the Additional Driver session this morning. Murphy drove a Mustang Supercar for the first time, in what ended up being a birthday present for the Kiwi superstar, who celebrates his 47th birthday today.
Practice 1 saw both McLaughlin and Coulthard work with their engineers to find a good base set-up, before Practice 2 saw green tyre running and full laps coming together to set fast times.
McLaughlin was already p1 when he rolled out for a final lap late in the session, running three purple sectors to set a 1m48.1044s lap time – half a second quicker than the previous mark held by Jamie Whincup.
Coulthard put together a good time, and was fourth to ensure that both he and McLaughlin skip Q1 Qualifying tomorrow morning.
There will be a third practice session in the morning, ahead of three-part qualifying and a 120km race tomorrow afternoon.