SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS of France was again the fastest International driver in the third Friday V8 practice – for Guest drivers only. This was a runup to Saturday’s Qualifying for the Armor All Gold Coast 600 V8 race at Surfer’s Paradise in sunny Australia. Seb is partnering with JAMIE WHINCUP in No.88 TeamVodafone Holden. His time dropped to 1:12.4089. Runner-Up ANDY PRIAULX/No. 888 was 0.6901 behind Bourdais. His partner is CRAIG LOWNDES.
Making up the top five were SIMON PAGENAUD/No.33 Fujitsu Racing GRM Holden with LEE HOLDSWORTH, HELIO CASTRONEVES/No.47 Lucky 7 Ford, and OLIVER GAVIN/No.11 Pepsi Max Crew Holden.
JAN MAGNUSSEN/No.39 Supercheap Auto Racing, running with RUSSEL INGALL, had some left rear wheel well/body damage.
The No.34 Fujitsu Holden driven by AUGUSTO FARFUS Jr had minor front damage from hitting the bollards – something I’m told many drivers do to cut the course. However, these bollards (found mostly on the chicanes on the beach-side straight) have a sensor in them, so it’s recorded when a driver hits it. I’m told this negates that lap for the driver.
RYAN BRISCOE/No.2 Toll Holden Racing Team got a flat right front tire and had to slowly wend his way around to the pits. His partner is GARTH TANDER.
According to TONY DOWE, consultant for Kelly Racing this weekend, if the car comes back pristine, someone isn’t trying hard enough. He said among the four cars he’s with this weekend, the blame is equally shared between the regular drivers and the Internationals.
Dowe has been in Australia for the past two weeks, and in that time he’s struck off three more events from his Bucket List – Bathurst 1000 and the Philip Island MotoGP. He went to the latter with Gavin, who was blown away at his first-ever MotoGP – which was won by an Aussie, CASEY STONER, who also won the championship.
Coming out of hiding Friday were MIKE JOY and DARRELL WALTRIP, who are the SPEED TV color commentators for the Gold Coast V8 race. They covered the Bathurst 1000 and had the time of their lives. DW was on air for the entire seven Hour+ race.
DW is bound to get ribbed by his other SPEED TV friends, about his amazingly fast lap around Bathurst. JASON BRIGHT/No.8 Team BOC Holden drove DW around the spectacular up and down the mountain circuit, with an in-car camera. Pretty funny. Bright told me that DW was impressed (read that scared.) Afterwards, according to an Aussie race official who was there to help DW out of the car, Waltrip had to sit for some moments before he was able to get out of the car. CALVIN FISH was telling TONY DOWE, so look for some gentle poking DW on the subject.
Sixth through twenty-eighth. All drivers were on track. No one has yet to miss a session.
AUGUSTO FARFUS Jr
GIL de FARRAN