It’s a beautiful day in Surfers Paradise for the first of three days in the Armor All Gold Coast 600 weekend. The skies are mostly blue with the cloud cover dissipating. The breeze is up so there shouldn’t be any heat prostration.
The V8 Supercars have 29 cars and four practice sessions on Friday. Each car has two drivers, with 18 of the co-drivers being ‘International’ – i.e. they aren’t V8 drivers and come from a wide-ranging number of international race series.
STEVEN RICHARDS/No.6 Dunlop Super Dealer FPR Falcon FG was the fastest V8 driver in the first session for Primary V8 drivers. His time was 1:13.0720. His co-driver, SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, will run in the second session for the International/Guest drivers.
Second through fifth were MARK WINTERBOTTOM/No.5 ORCON Steel FPR Falcon FG; JAMIE WHINCUP/No.1 Team Vodafone Holden Commodore VE; V8 Points leader JAMES COURTNEY/No.18 Jim Beam Racing Ford Falcon FG; and LEE HOLDSWORTH/No.22 Fujitsu Racing/GRM Holden Commodore VE.
The session was marred by the red flag caused when NATHAN PRETTY/No.30 Gulf Western Oil Holden Commodore VE hit the Turn Eleven tire wall. It caused some damage. Co-driver SCOTT PRUETT, will miss his session in Practice Two while the car is repaired. The engine has to come out, the lower frame is damaged. Pruett is hopeful of being back on the road by the fourth/last Friday practice.
The 40-minute first practice was for Primary drivers – no Internationals.
An hour later the (40-minute) second session will be for the Internationals. The CAMS (Sanctioning body Confederation of Australian Motor Sports) stewards said the International drivers must park parallel when in Pit Lane. This is so the Internationals can practice pit stop and meeting their marks. Normally the V8’s park at a 45 degree angle. I was told to expect pit stop and driver change practices going on during that session.
The third (afternoon) session is again open, which will be run by Primary drivers, and the last will be for all co-drivers including the Internationals. Do they sound like a musical group or not?
All 29 V8’s were on course.