TIM Slade gave Holden’s ZB Commodore the fastest time of the day in its full field debut at Supercars’ pre-season test at Sydney Motorsport Park.
And he set a new practice lap record to boot.
A late stoppage, triggered by James Golding parking up with a loose wheel, saw officials extend the session by a few minutes beyond the scheduled 5pm local time finish.
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Most teams headed out for final flying laps armed with brand new sets of 2018 Dunlop tyres, the tyres that are more in line with the rubber used in 2016 after the controversies encountered last year.
Slade leapt to the top of the times at the end, heading Fabian Coulthard by almost half a second.
“They felt really, really good,” Slade said of the new rubber. “Plenty of grip and the lap time shows that. It was pretty fun to drive.”
Michael Caruso jumped to third, putting a Holden, a Ford and a Nissan in the top three spots.
Shane van Gisbergen and Nick Percat filled the top five places, bumping down long-time afternoon leader Scott McLaughlin who spent much of the afternoon sidelined after a crash at Turn 1.
Jack Le Brocq was the quickest of the rookies in seventh, one spot ahead of reigning champion Jamie Whincup, while Tickford Racing pair Cam Waters and Mark Winterbottom rounded out the top 10.
Problems with the ZB Commodore’s brand new front splitter curtailed the day’s running for a couple of teams.
Scott Pye logged just seven laps in the afternoon and Garth Tander only 18 in the morning, while his GRM teammate Golding sat out much of the afternoon and returned at the end – once the team swapped Tander’s front bumper onto his car.
Several teams took the opportunity to give Enduro Cup co-drivers valuable test laps during the day.
Tickford, who have yet to confirm their exact rosters, sent new recruits James Moffat out in Chaz Mostert’s car and David Russell out in Waters’ car, while Dean Canto and Steve Owen also headed out during the day.
Erebus gave both Luke Youlden and Will Brown laps, as did Walkinshaw Andretti United for Warren Luff and Jack Perkins.
Matt Brabham had his first laps in Lee Holdsworth’s Preston Hire Racing Holden, while Macauley Jones turned laps in Nick Percat’s Brad Jones Racing car.
The cars will next hit the track for Friday practice at the season-opening Adelaide 500 in 14 days time.
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