ANDY PRIAULX/NO.888 TeamVodafone Holden Commodore VE was the fastest driver in the Rookie only Practice Session on the streets of Surfer’s Paradise Friday midday with a time of 1:14.5002 seconds. This was the first time on the course, leading up to the two V8 races this weekend as part of the Armor All Gold Coast 600.
He also was the fastest driver at Wednesday rainy-day test at nearby Queensland Raceway. His teammate is CRAIG LOWNDES, who is currently third in the V8 points standings. Interestingly, the two top drivers, JAMES COURTNEY/No.18 Jim Beam Racing Falcon FG and JAMIE WHINCUP/No.1 TeamVodafone Holden Commodore VE do not have an International pairing for co-driver.
Second through fifth were: SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS/No.19 Dick Johnson Racing Falcon FG; WILL POWER/No.6 Dunlop Super Dealer FPR Falcon; ALEX TAGLIANI/No.11 Rock Racing Holden Commodore VE; and DARIO FRANCHITTI/No.17 Jim Beam Racing Falcon FG.
HELIO CASTRONEVES/No.47 Wilson Security Racing Falcon FG was the fastest driver in the ‘Rookies’ only V8 Practice Session … for awhile. He crashed halfway through the session, after locking it up coming into Turn Eleven. Castroneves is said to have apologized on the radio to his crew, saying he should have taken the escape road instead of trying to save it. Castroneves is alright, but the car was munched in the right front, and was brought to the pits on the back of a flat bed truck. His co-driver is TIM SLADE. The team said it was all body damage, with no engine problems or anything else under the hood. They’re working on the front lower side panels. The car won’t make it out for the third practice session with co-driver TIM SLADE, but the team is hopeful for the fourth and final Friday practice, for the International drivers. “Definitely Saturday the car will be out.”
Seventeen of the 18 International drivers were on course for the session. Missing the action was SCOTT PRUETT/No.30 Gulf Western Oil Racing Holden Commodore VE. Four laps into the first practice session for Primary drivers, Pruett’s teammate, NATHAN PRETTY had crashed it in the same place as Helio.
Pruett was upbeat about the situation. The work continues on his car, and he’s hopeful about making the next International practice mid-afternoon.
The skies were clouded over, unlike the first session.
Several drivers led the pack for a bit including PATRICK LONG/No.34 Fujitsu Racing/GRM Commodore; and Bourdais. Long finished ninth.