AutoAction Australia’s #1 Motor Racing read since 1971 Motorsport news since 1971


Tony D'Alberto topped the third practice session - Photo: Rhys Vandersyde

Tony D’Alberto topped the third practice session – Photo: Rhys Vandersyde

All three sessions were weather-affected, the opening session starting dry before it rained, and the second session was wet for nearly all 27 minutes. The final session was held in intermittent rain.

Nissan drivers led the way, with Dean Fiore leading the way in P1 and Rick Kelly in the main driver second session.

The second session was stopped nearly five minutes early, after Fabian Coulthard lost control at Turn 6 and slid into a barrier. The Shell V-Power Ford suffered a damage front-right corner, and hasty repairs got the car ready for the third and final session.

In the final session Tony D’Alberto led the times from Warren Luff, after Richard Muscat led the screens for most of the session.

“The car felt pretty good but it is extremely slippery,” said D’Alberto. “Who knows what tomorrow is going to bring? Everybody is going to be in the same boat.”

It was a strong comeback from DJR Team Penske, which had to repair the #12 Falcon after Fabian Coulthard brought the session to an early finish with a heavy off at Turn 6.

Red Bull Holden Commodores were well down the order - Photo: Rhys Vandersyde

Red Bull Holden Commodores were well down the order – Photo: Rhys Vandersyde

Well down the order were the Red Bull Commodores. Best of the HRT cars was Paul Dumbrell, with Steven Richards 20th and Matt Campbell 23rd in Shane van Gisbergen’s car.

Dumbrell’s co-driver Jamie Whincup said that the team was struggling for speed.

“We don’t have any pace, which is a little bit concerning if the track is wet,” he said. “But we didn’t have a full wet set-up.

“Fingers crossed I think most of the weekend is going to be dry.”

Saturday’s action starts with the fourth Practice session at 9:20am, with Qualifying due to start at 10:50am.

The first of the two 20-lap Qualifying ‘Race for the Grid’ 20-lappers is at 1:45pm, with the second at 4:15pm.

For updates throughout the Sandown 500, make sure you follow us on social media FacebookTwitter, Instagram. We’ll also have a full in depth analysis of all the weekends action in the next issue of Auto Action Magazine, on sale Thursday.