NORTHERN TERRITORY, Australia - The Shell V-Power Racing Team has started the 2019 Darwin Triple Crown in the best way possible, with a 1-2 practice result in hot conditions at Hidden Valley Raceway today.
Fabian Coulthard - No. 12 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Practice 1 – 16th (Fastest Lap: 1m07.3129s)
Practice 2 – 2nd (Fastest Lap: 1m06.2214s)
Scott McLaughlin - No. 17 Shell V-Power Racing Ford
Practice 1 – 11th (Fastest Lap: 1m07.0762s)
Practice 2 – 1st (Fastest Lap: 1m06.0800s)
Scott McLaughlin, who is sporting an Aboriginal themed helmet and driving boots for this weekend’s race, set the fastest time of the day in the second practice session this afternoon. Fabian Coulthard was in second place, less than two-tenths behind.
McLaughlin started his day at Lee Point to see the sunrise on the beach, taking in some of the breathtaking sights of Northern Territory before heading to the circuit to get down to business.
The Practice 1 results may have left some viewers scratching their heads, with McLaughlin finishing 11th and Coulthard 16th, however the two Shell V-Power Mustangs had simply completed race runs throughout the opening session without utilising any new ‘green’ tyres.
Practice 2 saw the team switch their focus to qualifying pace, with a Top 10 result allowing drivers to graduate straight into the Q2 qualifying session tomorrow morning, while skipping the opening 10-minute Q1 session.
Both cars initially rolled out for the final session on old tyres, setting some solid lap times before the switch to green rubber.
With fresh tyres underneath them, both McLaughlin and Coulthard lit up the timing screens on their flying laps to head to the top of the time sheets just under two-tenths clear of the third-placed Jamie Whincup.
The Darwin Triple Crown continues tomorrow with a final practice session in the morning, ahead of a three-part Qualifying session and 120km race tomorrow afternoon.
COULTHARD QUOTE: “It’s always hot coming here to Darwin, but we prepare for it so that it doesn’t come as a shock to the system. The track here is a lot of fun, we were slipping and sliding around a bit, but the car is good and I’m looking forward to the weekend. Our team is working extremely hard back at the factory week in, week out so getting these kinds of results – even in practice - is a great way to repay them.”
MCLAUGHLIN QUOTE: “It was great to start the day at sunrise on the beach this morning. Darwin is a beautiful place, and it was cool to be able to take in a little bit of that before heading to the circuit. Winning the Triple Crown is something that all of us want to achieve, and setting the fastest time today certainly is good for the confidence heading into the weekend. However, we have to execute across the entire weekend for that to happen, I have to be on top of my driving, the team have to get the pit stops and strategy perfect and no-one has done it before. It’s tough, winning Supercars races is not an easy thing to do, winning Shootouts is not an easy thing to do, and we don’t take our success for granted. We will keep pushing, and hopefully we can continue this fantastic form.”