20-year old Brown joins idols at the top after practice at Sandown
Unheralded rookie Will Brown has jumped onto Centre stage at the RABBLE.club Sandown 500, joining some of the big guns at the front of the field in Melbourne today.
Brown, who was Supercars Rookie of the Year in winning the Mike Kable Young Gun Award, is partnering Erebus Penrite Racing’s Anton de Pasquale, another gun rookie, this weekend.
He topped the final session of the day although Paul Dumbrell (driving with Jamie Whincup), Shane van Gisbergen and James Courtney were the quickest of all three practice sessions.
Dumbrell set the practice lap record at Sandown in the first session of the day. The first two sessions were dominated by the Red Bull Holden drivers of Dumbrell and Whincup, followed by Van Gisbergen. Courtney set his time in the middle session.
It was a solid final session from Brown who is having his first drive of a Supercar in the Championship having spent last year in the feeder Dunlop Super2 Series. It is also his first PIRTEK Enduro Cup start.
“I just can’t thank everyone at Erebus enough, to give me this opportunity, my first enduro and to end the day like this is pretty cool,” Brown said.
“I’m just pumped to be here and in the enduro campaign.”
International Earl Bamber, driving with Van Gisbergen, was impressive on his debut as the pair claimed second overall. Bamber has the added pressure of having Championship leader Van Gisbergen’s title hopes in his hands.
“The track is wicked, Bamber said. “It’s cool to bounce these cars. It’s the first time I’ve attacked a proper kerb with one of them, so it’s good fun.”
Courtney, after a challenging season following a strong first-up performance at the Adelaide 500 in March, was encouraged by his day.
“It’s lovely to look for your name and it’s near the top,” Courtney said.
“We made a spring change in the front in the second-last run and it wasn’t as good, but we didn’t have time to change it back, so I think there’s time in that.”
Wilson Security Racing’s GRM combination of Garth Tander and Chris Pither were fourth overall in front of Nissan Motorsport’s Michael Caruso and Dean Fiore.
Veterans Craig Lowndes and Steven Richards were solid through the day, finishing up in sixth followed by Cameron Waters and David Russell, Andre Heimgartner and Aaren Russell, Fabian Coulthard and Tony D’Alberto with Chaz Mostert and James Moffat.
The RABBLE.club Sandown 500 continues with Practice 4 at 10:10am on Saturday morning.
ARMOR ALL Qualifying and the pair of Races for the Grid will follow in the afternoon.