First second and third practice sessions are ended. The Mountain has already reached out to bite the unwary, in the form of Jack Daniels Racing car 11, with Jack Perkins at the wheel.
Little detail exists about the incident, save for this article on the V8 Supercar website, but one assumes Perkins miscued somewhere between Reid Park and Skyline, whacking the concrete barriers with the left rear of the car, effectively putting it out of action for the day.
Of note are the comments from the two most likely protagonists to tangle for pole position on Saturday, Garth Tander and Jamie Whincup.
TANDER: “We need to keep working on it but the car was good out of the box and when it’s good out of the box it gives you a bit of confidence to push on.”
WHINCUP: “The car is well balanced going across the top. We will see if we can knock Murph’s lap time off in qualifying.”
Tander posted a best practice time of 2:09.3700 while Whincup put up a third session time of 2:07.5975 on brand new tyres. As Whincup stated, however, it’s early days. Serious stuff only happens tomorrow afternoon during qualifying. It’s interesting to note that both drivers are co-driving with what have to be classed as Bathurst luminaries in Mark Skaife and Craig Lowndes, yet it’s clear that Garth Tander and Jamie Whincup are the lead drivers in both cars. Age shall not weary them?
There’s an interesting article on Australia’s biggest motorsport event on Sportal-dot-Com-dot-Au, which ends with this observation:
Given Ford swept the podium last year and has been the dominant manufacturer this year you would suggest that Tander and Skaife have an uphill task. But variables on the mountain, with the weather, the accidents, the traffic, the fatigue and the pressure means this is a place where the unexpected usually happens.
Never were truer words written. Especially when one considers that rain is forecast for late Sunday arvo. Ford may well appear to be in the box seat, and who would have nominated Mark Skaife as being the first casualty of last years race before a lap was run? I firmly believe that Holden has a hard task before it’s stable of runners this year, but I never discount Team Red. If you’re wondering where I rate the championship’s dominant team and driver combination, and current second place holders in the championship this year, Ford Performance Racing, I don’t rate them as pole position hunters. I do rate Mark Winterbottom and Steven Richards as top five finishers, and definite challengers for an outright win. The word from FPR is that they’re more concerned with setting up car 6 for full tanks. That’s interesting, if it’s true, because pole position punters don’t run around Mount Panorama with full tanks, as a rule. Runners looking to finish the race at the pointy end do. Full details of todays three practice session times can be for here.
Don’t forget, if you’re an avid follower of the sport, as I am, Network Seven are broadcasting from the Mountain tomorrow arvo from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. I’m setting my recording software. Are you?