SHELL MUSTANGS QUICK ON WILD DAY AT SANDOWNBen Nightingale
SANDOWN 500 – FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8 – PRACTICE
Fabian Coulthard & Tony D’Alberto – No. 12 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Practice 1 – 6th (Fastest Lap: 1m08.2344s – D’Alberto)
Practice 2 – 17th (Fastest Lap: 1m08.3970s – Coulthard)
Practice 3 – 2nd (Fastest Lap: 1m07.8956s – D’Alberto)
Scott McLaughlin & Alex Prémat – No. 17 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Practice 1 – 11th (Fastest Lap: 1m08.4614s – Premat)
Practice 2 – 3rd (Fastest Lap: 1m07.9985s – McLaughlin)
Practice 3 – 9th (Fastest Lap: 1m08.0750s – Premat)
RECAP: The Sandown 500 opened on a stereotypical Melbourne day which saw rain, hail, sunshine and everything in between.
The co-drivers got the bulk of the running, with two 30-minute co-driver only sessions alongside a single half-hour session for main drivers.
Tony D’Alberto and Alex Premat did a stellar job in both of their outings, with D’Alberto running a lightning quick time in the 1m07s bracket late in the day to be only one-tenth off the lap record.
Coulthard and McLaughlin’s runs in the second session were solid, with Coulthard left stranded down the order on the timesheets when cars 888 and 55 ran into the sand trap at the final corner as he was on a flyer that would have seen him jump up into the Top 10.
Tomorrow will see the field line up for final practice, qualifying and two 20-lap races to set the grid for Sunday’s 500km main race.
COULTHARD QUOTE: “It was short and sweet for me today, just had that session in the middle there. It was good fun, the track has improved with the new surface and three manufacturers in the top three, so I think it’s all very close. Qualifying will be important tomorrow, the field is so close so if we can qualify at the front it makes the job much easier.”
MCLAUGHLIN QUOTE: “Firstly I have to say thanks again to the team. The car ran perfectly today, which is down to all the work the team put into the build over the last week or so. It feels pretty good, and we’re pretty happy with how it’s all going. We’ve got a few things to look at tonight for sure, but with another practice before qualifying we’ll have Car 17 all set.
D’ALBERTO QUOTE: “I’m pretty happy, the car has been reasonable all day and Fabian did a great job of tuning the car up for me for that last practice session there, so we’re fairly happy with it. We definitely have a better car than we had here last year, but it’s so tight out there and if you’re a tenth away, you’re ten spots back. It’s going to be close in qualifying tomorrow.”
PRÉMAT QUOTE: “Car 17 felt pretty nice today, and being a brand new car it has not had any problems or teething issues so the team has done a fantastic job. The weather was a bit unpredictable, but I think it may be similar tomorrow so it was good to see what the car was like in the cold conditions. I’m looking forward to racing tomorrow.”