Team 18 has enjoyed a productive opening day to their Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 campaign, logging over 120 laps over the three hours of practice time at Mount Panorama today.
With thunderstorms predicted later in the week, the first day of action saw clear blue skies and dry running without a single red flag interruption.
Thursday’s running saw three one-hour practice sessions at the 6.213km mountain circuit, including a specific one-hour session for co-drivers.
With recent wet weather in the Central Tablelands region and no racing held at Bathurst since February, the track took a while to grip up before the times tumbled late in the day as both cars dipped into the low 2:05s.
Scott Pye and Dean Fiore shared the opening session of the day in the DEWALT Commodore before Fiore took control for the co-drivers session.
Pye and Fiore completed 68 laps in the three sessions, more laps than any other car in Thursday’s running, as Pye set a 2:05.3853 to finish the final session of the day in 12th, only 0.06sec behind team mate Mark Winterbottom.
The team worked through their practice program which included rehearsing driver changes, brake rotor changes and refuelling, with crews only having to change tyres during pit stops since the return to racing this year.
The DEWALT Racing Commodore returns to the track tomorrow for two further practice sessions, before qualifying for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 commences at 4:05pm local time. Friday’s action can be viewed live on Network 10, Fox Sports 506 and Kayo Sports.
driver #20 DEWALT Racing Holden ZB Commodore
“We had a solid first day with plenty of laps in the bank,” said Pye.
“It was great for Dean [Fiore] to do some long race runs so we didn’t put so much effort into one lap speed rather focus on our race car for Sunday.
“In saying that, our one-lap speed was okay and tomorrow’ll find a little more speed as we build towards qualifying, but overall today was very successful for us, we should have a strong race car.
“The track was pretty speedy at the end, the times we saw were impressive and that was pretty relevant to what qualifying could be tomorrow at the same time of day.
“The morning was a bit cooler but given it was the first time on track and it was pretty dusty the track wasn’t as quick as it was by the afternoon.
“There’s a high chance of rain later in the weekend but we’ll just take it as it comes, if it rains on Sunday it will make the race exciting and keep things interesting throughout the day.”
co-driver #20 DEWALT Racing Holden ZB Commodore
“Overall we had a really productive day,” said Fiore.
“I wanted to make sure that the seat that we poured on the Gold Coast worked, so that was the first box ticked, so then it was just about getting comfortable and turning laps.
“I’m feeling nice and comfortable in the car and the idea was to put in some solid race runs, practice fuel saving and progress through our programme.”