TIGHT KUMHO FIGHT SET FOR WINTON
Brad Jones Racing rookie Josh Smith edged out Kumho series championship leader Taz Douglas to top practice today in perfect conditions at Winton Raceway the pair of VE Holden Commodores ultimately ending a fast Friday split by just 0.0977s.
Smiths fastest time was a full second beneath last years pole time set by Liam McAdam and 1.5 seconds beneath the categorys lap record at the newly resurfaced circuit.
The BJR driver beat Douglas to pole in the opening round of the Kumho Series at Sandown earlier this year and heads into the home round for his team filled with confidence having tested at the circuit recently.
Douglas was pipped by Smith late in practice two having otherwise dominated both sessions in his ex-Kelly Racing Commodore.
He topped practice one by 0.9 seconds and held a similarly comfortable margin in practice two before a glitch stopped his car at turn five late in the session.
Smith was then able to pip Douglas following the red flag used to recover his vehicle though the THR car was also able to return to the circuit late in the session with its issues resolved.
With BJR and THR Developments-run Holden VE Commodores locking out the top two spots in practice the next group of cars a majority of them Ford Falcons – were tightly bunched with third through seventh positions covered by just 0.6 seconds.
Bathurst-based Michael Anderson was third fastest closing to within four-tenths of the two leading Holdens late in the second session driving his ex-Ford Performance Racing Ford Falcon BF.
The Historic Touring Car racer qualified 7th for Sandowns season opener in April before posting a strong sixth-place finish in the opening race of the year.
Third fourth and fifth places in practice were all filled by cars built by the former Factory Ford squad with Jason Heck (fourth) and David Wright (fifth) shading Andersons ex-Mark Winterbottom racer.
Rookie Tyler Greenbury was sixth in his Image Racing BF Falcon just in front of Privateers cup leader Jim Pollicina in his ex-Tasman Motorsport VE Commodore.
Matt Chahda Chris Smerdon and Brendan Strong completed the top-10 across the pair of 20-minute sessions.
The Kumho Series was unfortunately reduced by one today with Poco Racing driver Steve Briffa forced to withdraw after diagnosing significant engine dramas in his ex-Paul Morris VZ Commodore.
Briffas teammate Simon Emerzidis will continue tomorrow and ended practice 12th overall.
Saturdays schedule resumes early in the morning with a 20-minute qualifying session to set the grid scheduled for 8:50am with race one to be broadcast live on FOX Motorsport at 10:45am. Race two follows also live on FOX at 12:45pm.
The final race will be contested on Sunday morning.
RESULTS – PRACTICE (COMBINED)
Pos Car Competitor/Team Driver Vehicle Cap CL Fastest...Lap Gap1 14 Brad Jones Racing Joshua Smith (QLD) Commodore VE2 5000 P2 1:24.5302* 2 45 SA Racing Logist/THR Developmt Taz Douglas (VIC) Commodore VE 5000 P2 1:24.6279 0:00.09773 11 Kenwood Homes Michael Anderson (NSW) Ford Falcon BF 5000 P2 1:24.9658 0:00.43564 5 HaymansVirginia/JCH Electrical Jason Heck (QLD) Ford Falcon BF 5000 P2 1:25.4151 0:00.88495 6 501 Performance David Wright (VIC) Ford Falcon BF 5000 P2 1:25.4892 0:00.95906 13 Image Racing/Lubrimaxx Tyler Greenbury (QLD) Ford Falcon FG 5000 P2 1:25.6774 0:01.14727 7 MoComm M'sports Communication Jim Pollicina (NSW) Commodore VE 5000 P2 1:25.7080 0:01.17788 18 Cavalier Homes Matt Chahda (VIC) Ford Falcon BA 5000 P2 1:26.0490 0:01.51889 39 Vectra Corp/Lubrimaxx Chris Smerdon (SA) Ford Falcon FG 5000 P2 1:26.4884 0:01.958210 75 BSTRONG ELECTRICAL/Kirra Auto Brendan Strong (NSW) Commodore VZ 5000 P2 1:27.0949 0:02.564711 66 Unichip Dynomotive Jack Sipp (QLD) Commodore VE 5000 P1 1:27.8586 0:03.328412 88 Simon's Earthworks/WARLORD Simon Emerzidis (NSW) Commodore VZ 5000 P2 1:28.3401 0:03.809913 37 Tempest Sol's Air & Mechanical Anthony Loscialpo (NSW) Commodore VE 5000 P2 1:28.4338 0:03.903614 17 Newton M'sport/PetewellEnginee Troy Stapleton (VIC) Ford Falcon EL 5000 P2 1:29.2252 0:04.695015 25 Savs AutoElectric/Westco Equip Dean Kovacevich (WA) Commodore VE 5000 P1 1:29.5019 0:04.971716 16 Image Racing/Lubrimaxx Leigh Moran (VIC) Ford Falcon BA 5000 P2 1:32.9093 0:08.379117 8 Poco/Simon's Earthworks Steve Briffa (NSW) Commodore VZ 5000 P1 2:44.5704 1:20.0402