Mostert tops opening day in Sydney

Flying Prodrive star Chaz Mostert will not allow team-mate Mark Winterbottom a clear run to a maiden Championship with his team letting their drivers race as individuals.

Mostert has been a constant threat to Winterbottom with his unrivalled qualifying speed but has been unable to convert a fast Ford into strong starts and consistent race results.

The 23-year-old has more podiums than anyone this year but sits 292 points behind his team-mate with Red Bull Racing's Craig Lowndes wedged between them. A third FG-X Falcon of David Reynolds is 32 points further adrift.

As he has done consistently this year Mostert was at the top of the time sheets in practice at the Sydney Motorsport SuperSprint today, ahead of Supercheap Auto Racing's Tim Slade and Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen.

Mostert had denied the Prodrive Racing outfit will enforce team orders favoring Winterbottom in order to claim their, and his, maiden Championship.

"As far as I know we're all pushing for the Championship, we've all got our own races to run," Mostert said.

"Prodrive has always left that open; even last year when Frosty was leading the championship. It's a different situation this year though as we've got a better package going into the enduros.

"I haven't been told any team orders unless you have. For me I'm just going out there trying to win as many races as I can and trying to get as many Championship points as I can."

Even with his strong practice session Mostert felt his car could be improved markedly ahead of tomorrow's two sprint races and Sunday's longer fixture.

"We're pretty unhappy with the car to be honest," he said. "It's pretty wild out there I don't know if it's the track or the car but a bit of work to do tonight but I'm still happy to be up the pointy end of the timesheets.

"It's strange normally our hard car feels better than our soft car but today our soft car feels better so hopefully there's some positive stuff going into the weekend.

"We've got one more practice tomorrow which we can try to do some last set up changes and make it better – it's good to finish off today at the top but we've got a little bit of work to do."

Van Gisbergen, second in last year's Championship, hopes for a better outcome than what has been an enormously frustrating year for the young Kiwi.

"Our car has been a bit of a battle the last few rounds so trying a whole lot of things and a different direction to make it work so it's a bit of a struggle to be honest," he said.

"It has been a bit frustrating but we're working hard trying so many different things and backing our own directional set up. I'm not completely happy but it is better."

Winterbottom finished the session fifth, behind Nick Percat, who earned his first solo podium at the circuit last year.
The Red Bulls were back in the pack, Jamie Whincup 13th and Lowndes 19th – technical director Ludo Lacroix said they were searching for grip and assessing "new bits and pieces".

Holden Racing Team co-driver Jack Perkins took part in the session in the #22 Commodore, with James Courtney out of the car for medical reasons.

Courtney was hit by a piece of debris that loosened by a Navy helicopter conducting a display at the event. He was subsequently transported to Westmead Hospital for further assessment.

The Royal Australian Navy and V8 Supercars have commenced investigations into the incident.

Results

Pos Driver Team Fastest Gap Lap Of
1 6 Chaz Mostert Pepsi Max Crew 1:29.9026 0.0000s 12 22
2 47 Tim Slade Supercheap Auto Racing 1:30.0291 0.1265 21 22
3 97 Shane van Gisbergen Team Darrell Lea STIX 1:30.0915 0.1889 16 16
4 222 Nick Percat Repair Management Aust Racing 1:30.3143 0.4117 16 16
5 5 Mark Winterbottom Pepsi Max Crew 1:30.3681 0.4655 16 19
6 33 Scott McLaughlin Wilson Security Racing GRM 1:30.4286 0.5260 10 22
7 111 Andre Heimgartner Super Black Racing 1:30.4586 0.5560 17 23
8 23 Michael Caruso Nissan Motorsport 1:30.4894 0.5868 17 18
9 18 Lee Holdsworth Walkinshaw Performance 1:30.5614 0.6588 15 25
10 55 David Reynolds The Bottle-O Racing Team 1:30.6609 0.7583 13 18
11 2 Garth Tander Holden Racing Team 1:30.7549 0.8523 18 19
12 9 Will Davison Erebus Motorsport V8 1:30.7807 0.8781 23 23
13 1 Jamie Whincup Red Bull Racing Australia 1:30.8443 0.9417 22 23
14 34 David Wall Wilson Security Racing GRM 1:30.9237 1.0211 17 22
15 8 Jason Bright Team BOC 1:30.9311 1.0285 11 21
16 15 Rick Kelly Nissan Motorsport 1:30.9369 1.0343 19 20
17 7 Todd Kelly Nissan Motorsport 1:30.9502 1.0476 18 19
18 17 Scott Pye DJR Team Penske 1:30.9566 1.0540 18 19
19 888 Craig Lowndes Red Bull Racing Australia 1:30.9878 1.0852 22 23
20 22 Jack Perkins Holden Racing Team 1:31.0918 1.1892 18 20
21 14 Fabian Coulthard Freightliner Racing 1:31.2937 1.3911 14 23
22 21 Dale Wood GB Galvanizing Racing 1:31.3526 1.4500 13 24
23 99 James Moffat Nissan Motorsport 1:31.7131 1.8105 15 18
24 4 Ash Walsh Erebus Motorsport V8 1:31.8255 1.9229 15 17
25 3 Tim Blanchard Team Cooldrive 1:32.3520 2.4494 21 21

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