CHAZ LOOKS GOODS
CHAZ Mostert is confident his recent car troubles in Darwin are now behind him after the Prodrive star topped yesterday’s second practice session at the Townsville 400.
Mostert was the quickest around the Reid Park street circuit ahead of fellow Ford young gun Scott McLaughlin and defending Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen.
Mark Winterbottom had sat atop the order from the halfway mark with a 1: 12.54 best, but he was bumped to fourth in the dying minutes after a red flag stoppage to retrieve Dale Wood’s stranded Holden.
McLaughlin clocked a 1: 12.43 lap despite losing time by dropping a leftrear wheel off the road through Turn 9, but Mostert immediately went 0.16 quicker to finish on top in a thrilling finish.
Van Gisbergen was the other big improver, with last year’s Sunday race winner ending up third on 1: 12.48, while Winterbottom settled for fourth ahead of Jamie Whincup and Practice 1 pacesetter David Reynolds.
Mostert is coming off a frustrating round in Darwin where the Prodrive team struggled with their car set- up, but he felt they now had the No. 55 Falcon FG- X running in top condition.
“It was a pretty good session for us and a big turnaround from what happened in Darwin,” Mostert said.
“It’s a credit to all the guys at PRA to go through the data after that last round and trying to work out where we’ve tracked down the wrong path. The car at the gate felt pretty reasonable … but once the tyres heat up it degrades a bit around here being a street track and being quite hot so it was very hard to get an idea on the direction we needed to head.
“I think by the end of practice two we got something that we were reasonably happy with.”
Meanwhile, McLaughlin produced another impressive display of speed in the second practice as he chases a maiden victory in Townsville.
The Shell V- Power star has won four of the past six races, but McLaughlin stressed there were no guarantees this weekend despite his blistering recent form.
“I wouldn’t say I’m desperate to win, ( but) I’d love to win here. Every time I go out, I want to win,” McLaughlin said.
“Townsville’s an awesome event and something that’s pretty special on the calendar for all of us so to win here in the sun would be fantastic, but we’ve got a long way to go yet.
“We’ve got to chase down Chaz, he’s bloody quick at the moment so we’ll have a good crack at it.”
Drivers had to endure sweltering conditions during practice and they can expect little relief today, with Mostert saying he was prepared for some tough racing across the weekend.
“It’s pretty humid out there at the moment. I didn’t put on a cool suit ( yesterday) so I’m feeling a bit cooked,” he said.
“There will be a lot of ice baths and a lot of keeping cool in the garage — it’s going to be a tough weekend out there.”
TOWNSVILLE 400 PRACTICE TWO
Chaz Mostert — Supercheap Auto Racing — 1: 12.2648
Scott McLaughlin — Shell VPowerRacing Team — 1: 12.4275
Shane Van Gisbergen — Red Bull Holden Racing Team — 1: 12.4832
Mark Winterbottom — The BottleO Racing Team — 1: 12.5365
Jamie Whincup — Red Bull Holden Racing Team — 1: 12.5998
TOWNSVILLE 400 PRACTICE ONE
1. David Reynolds — Erebus Penrite Racing — 01: 12.8920
2. Todd Kelly — carsales Racing — 1: 12.9887
3. Shane Van Gisbergen — Red Bull Holden Racing Team — 1: 13.0945
4. Craig Lowndes — TeamVortex — 1: 13.1401
5. Tim Slade — Freightliner Racing — 1: 12.1497
FAST START: Supercheap Auto Racing driver Chaz Mostert ( main) and Erebus’ David Reynolds ( inset) both topped a practice session during the opening day of the Townsville 400 from Reid Park.