Sandown 500: Lowndes ends Friday on top

Craig Lowndes set the co-driver pace to round out Friday practice for the Sandown 500.

Sandown 500: Lowndes ends Friday on top

The Red Bull Holden driver spent much of the half-hour session sitting behind teammate Garth Tander, before a rapid two-lap stint on a better set of roaded Dunlops at the end.

The first of those was a 1m07.916s, good enough to put him top, before he improved to a 1m07.835s next time around.

While falling just short of the new lap record set by David Reynolds earlier today, Lowndes' time was good enough to hold off late improvements from Tony D'Alberto and Dale Wood.

“We got told a rain shower was coming, so we were all hustling at the start to get some laps in,” said Lowndes.

“We made the car better over that session, there’s no doubt about that. And that’s always what I’ve loved to do, develop a car.

“We went up on springs, down on springs, we played with shocks, we did everything. 

“We got a bit of a balance we wanted, put a set of tyres on that Jamie had previously run. It took three laps though to get the tyre pressures and the balance right, but we were hustling it.”

Penske driver D'Alberto was just 0.06s shy of Lowndes, with Kelly Racing's Wood within a tenth of the ultimate pace as well.

Having not improved at the end, Tander slipped back to fourth ahead of Jack Perkins and Ash Walsh.

Will Brown was seventh in the Erebus Holden, James Moffat and Alex Premat the next best Mustangs behind D'Alberto in eighth and ninth.

Tom Randle rounded out the Top 10, shading Tickford teammate Michael Caruso.

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Practice results:

Cla # Driver Car Time Gap
1 888 Australia Jamie Whincup
Australia Craig Lowndes
Holden Commodore ZB 1'07.835
2 12 New Zealand Fabian Coulthard
Australia Tony D'Alberto
Ford Mustang GT 1'07.895 0.060
3 15 Australia Rick Kelly
Australia Dale Wood
Nissan Altima 1'07.934 0.098
4 97 New Zealand Shane van Gisbergen
Australia Garth Tander
Holden Commodore ZB 1'07.953 0.118
5 22 Australia James Courtney
Jack Perkins
Holden Commodore ZB 1'07.979 0.143
6 14 Australia Tim Slade
Australia Ash Walsh
Holden Commodore ZB 1'08.028 0.193
7 99 Australia Anton De Pasquale
Australia Will Brown
Holden Commodore ZB 1'08.029 0.194
8 55 Australia Chaz Mostert
Australia James Moffat
Ford Mustang GT 1'08.048 0.212
9 17 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin
France Alexandre Prémat
Ford Mustang GT 1'08.075 0.239
10 5 Australia Lee Holdsworth
Australia Thomas Randle
Ford Mustang GT 1'08.131 0.295
11 6 Australia Cameron Waters
Australia Michael Caruso
Ford Mustang GT 1'08.166 0.330
12 2 Australia Scott Pye
Australia Warren Luff
Holden Commodore ZB 1'08.238 0.403
13 7 New Zealand Andre Heimgartner
Australia Bryce Fullwood
Nissan Altima 1'08.266 0.430
14 9 Australia David Reynolds
Australia Luke Youlden
Holden Commodore ZB 1'08.268 0.432
15 23 Australia Will Davison
Australia Alex Davison
Ford Mustang GT 1'08.321 0.485
16 34 Australia James Golding
Richard Muscat
Holden Commodore ZB 1'08.415 0.580
17 18 Australia Mark Winterbottom
New Zealand Steven Richards
Holden Commodore ZB 1'08.440 0.605
18 33 New Zealand Richie Stanaway
New Zealand Chris Pither
Holden Commodore ZB 1'08.458 0.622
19 3 Australia Garry Jacobson
Australia Dean Fiore
Nissan Altima 1'08.508 0.673
20 35 Australia Todd Hazelwood
United States Jack Smith
Holden Commodore ZB 1'08.601 0.765
21 8 Australia Nick Percat
Australia Tim Blanchard
Holden Commodore ZB 1'08.613 0.778
22 56 Brodie Kostecki
Australia Jake Kostecki
Holden Commodore ZB 1'08.714 0.878
23 21 Australia Macauley Jones
Australia Dean Canto
Holden Commodore ZB 1'08.820 0.984
24 19 Australia Jack Le Brocq
Australia Jonathon Webb
Holden Commodore ZB 1'08.845 1.009
25 78 Switzerland Simona de Silvestro
Australia Alex Rullo
Nissan Altima 1'08.934 1.098
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