SHELL V-POWER RACING TEAM MUSTANGS THROUGH TO BATHURST SHOOTOUT

BATHURST 1000 – FRIDAY 16 OCTOBER – PRACTICE 4, 5 AND QUALIFYING
Fabian Coulthard/Tony D’Alberto – No. 12 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Practice 4 (Co-Drivers) – 8th (Fastest Lap: 2m05.5292s)
Practice 5 (All Drivers) – 16th (Fastest Lap: 2m05.4877s)
Qualifying – 6th (Fastest Lap: 2m05.2813s)

Scott McLaughlin/Tim Slade – No. 17 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Practice 4 (Co-Drivers) – 4th (Fastest Lap: 2m05.3411s)
Practice 5 (All Drivers) – 1st  (Fastest Lap: 2m04.3716s)
Qualifying – 3rd  (Fastest Lap: 2m04.1035s)

Qualifying
Both Shell V-Power Racing Team Mustangs have made it through to tomorrow’s Top Ten Shootout which will decide the front of starting grid for Sunday’s Great Race, The Bathurst 1000.

Coulthard and McLaughlin spent the opening laps on used tyres, settling into the session before heading to the pits for new rubber. They worked on progressively improving their times.

Mid-way through the session, McLaughlin was on for the fastest lap, but the red flag came out when J.Kosteki went into the wall. During the five minutes the damaged vehicle was being recovered, dark clouds rolled over the track, and there were sprinkles of water. But they didn’t deter the drivers.

Despite going two tenths slower than his quickest in the first sector, McLaughlin jumped to the top of the timesheets by two-thousandths of a second. Coulthard put together a solid lap and jumped seven positions into P5.

Rain threatened, and as the field headed out for their final attempt at a lap time, the rain fell and ended the session. McLaughlin finished P3 and Coulthard P6.

Earlier today, there were two Practice sessions:
Practice 4
It was the co-drivers who took to the track in the opening session of the day with D’Alberto and Slade on the pace straight away and clocking times that put them inside the top 5. 

The red flag came out halfway through the session when Ojeda went into the wall at The Cutting. When the session resumed, rain was threatening, but it quickly cleared. The cars returned to the track, and both Shell V-Power Racing Team drivers continued to improve their laps times. 

A second red flag was triggered when Ojeda fired into the wall, but the track team swiftly recovered the car, and the session resumed with just under five minutes remaining. Again, both drivers improved their lap times. Slade finished P4 and D’Alberto P8.

Practice 5
The final practice of the day was an all-in session, but only Coulthard and McLaughlin took on driving duty. Getting his first laps in the Ford Mustang for the day, McLaughlin reported he felt more comfortable in the car than yesterday, which was evident in his lap times. Coulthard worked on improving his lap times throughout the session but thought the rear still felt “flighty”.

With five minutes remaining in the session, both drivers were on track for one final qualifying simulation when there was a near-disaster for the No. 17. After setting the quickest first sector of the session, McLaughlin missed a gear shift on the way down the mountain, lost the rear and made contact with the wall. While there was some damage, he limped back to the garage where the crew were able to repair the car.

Despite his small mistake, McLaughlin still claimed P1 while Coulthard was P16

COULTHARD QUOTE: 
“We’re just always tuning the car and trying to make it a bit nicer. You need a car that is predictable so you know what you have when you get to the corner. You reply a lot on confidence around here. It’s great to have two cars in the shootout, and it’s great to have a lap to yourself around here.”

“I think our race car isn’t too bad, we learnt a couple of tricks there in qually which I think will aid us in the race. Mark’s (engineer) been awesome and we’ve always had direction and know where we are going and what we will do next. It’s a team effort, and we’re all doing our bit. We’re now focussed on the shootout.”

D’ALBERTO QUOTE:
“I’m very happy with this morning’s session, and I think we improved the car overnight. The track has improved as well, and we’ve definitely headed in the right direction with the setup of our car.”

“I’m a little bit disappointed not to do my fastest lap because of a red flag, but we were still near the top of the timesheets. So, all bodes well for the rest of the weekend, and I’m feeling comfortable which is really good.”

MCLAUGHLIN QUOTE: 
“I was ready to go for qualifying, and I was rubbing my hands together. I got to McPhillamy, and it started bucking down. I went over the hill, and it was loose on the slicks, so I said to the boys we’ll bring it in and have another crack tomorrow. Bring on the shootout.”

SLADE QUOTE:
“I was a lot happier today. While our pace yesterday was good, I was a little bit uncomfortable in the car, so we tuned the seat up a little bit. I’m much happier now, and we fixed a few little cooling issues as well with the helmet. I’ve now had more laps, and I’ve got a better feel for what the car is doing.”

“The car is definitely good enough, we just got caught out there by the weather in qualifying, but we’re through to the shootout.”