TCR World Tour and Supercheap Auto TCR Australia
The internationals got their first taste of the world-famous Mount Panorama Circuit on Friday morning, but it was local Tony D’Alberto who stole the show.
The reigning champion was the fastest of all 24 drivers, finishing ahead of leading Kumho TCR World Tour competitor, Santiago Urrutia of Cyan Racing..
The returning Michael Clemente would round out the top three outright, while Honda’s Nestor Girolami was the next best of the internationals in seventh.
The international field flipped the switch in the second practice, occupying seven of the top 10 places and led by Cyan Racing”s Yann Ehrlacher.
D’Alberto was again fastest of the local runners, finishing the session in second place and less than two-tenths of a second behind.
Girolami was again second-best for the TCR World Tour stars, but would this time round out the top three outright places ahead of practice one leader, Santiago Urrutia.
The combined Kumho TCR World Tour and Supercheap Auto TCR Australia will return on Saturday for qualifying at 12:35pm AEDT.
National Trans Am Series
James Moffat has continued his impressive form in the competitive category by going fastest in the opening session.
The series leader left it until late to pip Edan Thornburrow by seven-tenths of a second, while Moffat’s teammate and title rival, Lochie Dalton was only a couple hundredths of a second back.
There were a couple of other drivers also in the mix, including Tom Hayman and Ben Grice – who were both only a couple of tenths back from the leaders.
Moffat made it two from two for the day after topping practice yet again, this time by only five-hundredths of a second ahead of Thornburrow.
While the top two remained the same as the previous session, this time it was Grice who claimed third ahead of Dalton.
The National Trans Am Series will next feature for the all-important qualifying session on Saturday, kicking off at 9:25am AEDT
Kumho V8 Touring Car Series
Two new additions to the V8TC field led the way in the category’s first practice session, with Ryan Simpson posting the session-best time ahead of the up-and-coming Cameron McLeod.
Rounding out the top three runners less than two-tenths of a second back from McLeod was title contender Jamie Tilley, while series leader Jude Bargwanna was also in the mix.
In the Kumho Cup, it was Ray Hislop who set the benchmark time ahead of Brendan Strong.
It was a dominant performance from McLeod in practice two, who was in a league of his own with a two and a half second gap over second place Ryan Simpson.
The two newcomers continued to impress after practice earlier on in the day and finished ahead of series leader, Jude Bargwanna and Brendan Strong.
Ray Hislop and Jamie Tilley secured fifth and sixth respectively.
The Kumho V8 Touring Car Series will line up for race one on Saturday at 8:35am AEDT.
Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters
The one and only practice session of the weekend for the muscle-car category belonged to Marcus Zukanovic, who topped the timesheets a mere three tenths of a second ahead of Cameron Tilley.
Rounding out the top three places in the disrupted session was Ryan Hansford, with fourth place Andrew Fisher rounding out the drivers to finish within one second of the fastest lap.
Lance Hughes was the best of the New Zealand competitors, who had a great opportunity to familiarise themselves with the circuit ahead of qualifying.
Unfortunately, the highly anticipated qualifying session was over before it started after a number of red flag’s meant the drivers were unable to put in a valid lap time.
Further updates will be provided in due time.
Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters will next take to the track on Saturday for its traditional Trophy Race at 10:25am AEDT.
Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia
Nash Morris continued to impress in the one-make Porsche category, topping the opening practice session ahead of series leader, Marco Giltrap.
The session lead changed hands on multiple occasions, but in the end, it was Morris who was fastest by seven tenths of a second ahead of the Kiwi, with the in-form Oscar Targett and Marcos Flack also within one second.
An almighty battle for pole position went the way of Morris after besting Flack by just five-hundredths of a second.
The session was close from start to finish, with third place Targett also only half a second back from the polesitter in his own right.
Starting alongside Targett on the second row of the grid for Friday afternoon’s race will be Hamish Fitzsimmons.
Morris successfully converted his pole position into the first race win of the weekend, crossing the line ahead of Marcos flack in a highly disrupted race.
A quick start saw Morris lead off the line, starting to create a gap before the first of two safety car interferences.
However, Morris would ace every restart and not give up his lead after a final one lap dash that saw the top three consist of himself, Flack and newly crowned champion elect, Giltrap.
Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge competitors will go at it again for race two at 12:05pm AEDT on Saturday.
Mobil 1 Australian Production Cars & Monochrome Australia Production Invited
Shane Smollen was untouched during the opening session of the weekend for the combined category, having his fastest time of 2:19.16 more than one second faster than newcomer, Adam Garwood.
Tim Leahey rounded out the top three outright and for the Invited class, with the session coming to an early halt after a red flag intervention late on.
Grant Sherrin led the way in APC outright ahead of Iain Sherrin, while Simon Hodges was next best ahead of Beric Lynton.
The tables turned in qualifying with Leahey making a statement with a pole position ahead of Smollen in his first round as part of the invited class.
The gap between the two frontrunners was seven-tenths of a second, with Begg only a couple of tenths back and will start on the second row of the grid for race one alongside Steve Jukes.
In APC, Grant and Iain Sherrin will lead the way from the fifth row with Class X rival, Lynton only a further two places back.
The combined category will return to the track for race on on Saturday at 9:50am AEDT.