David Reynolds has broken the Mount Panorama lap record as Friday practice drew to a close for this weekend’s Bathurst 1000 endurance race. The Bottle-O Racing Ford driver clocked a 2:06.3714 in the third and final practice session, edging out Ford stablemate Mark Winterbottom by one-tenth of a second.

With one co-driver only session and two ‘open’ practice sessions, there was plenty of on-track action and more than a little bit of drama as the 26-car field had its first laps of the toughest circuit on the calendar.

Craig Lowndes was the first runner to turn a timed lap in opening practice before the day’s first red flag came out. The culprit was David Wall, whose #17 Dick Johnson Racing Ford popped a right-rear tyre. Trying to make it back to the pits, the tyre failure broke his right-rear suspension along Conrod Straight.

Once Wall’s Ford was recovered, the circuit opened for business again and it was Garth Tander’s Holden who moved to the top of the timesheets, followed by the Ford duo of Winterbottom and Reynolds. Tander and Reynolds continued to swap fastest times in the first 40 minutes of the session.

Robert Dahlgren struck trouble in his Volvo S60, which suffered an apparent engine failure. Also in the wars was the #97 TEKNO Holden of Shane van Gisbergen, which had its own rear suspension failure, but the biggest shunt was for the JELD-WEN Ford, which suffered a hefty dent on its rear after Cameron Waters lost control through the top of the mountain.

The final ten minutes saw plenty of changes in the pecking order. James Moffat took his Nissan Altima second-fastest, before he was eclipsed by Chaz Mostert in the second FPR Ford. At the end of the session Mostert was fastest with a 2:08.0736, with Moffat second and Tander third.

Chaz Mostert

Chaz Mostert led the way in the opening practice session for Ford Performance Racing.

The co-drivers were then given a 45-minute session to get some miles under their belt. Tony D’Alberto initially ran quickest in the #10 SuperCheap Auto Racing Holden (running with #10 this weekend instead of #47 in commemoration of title sponsor Super Cheap Auto Racing’s tenth year of sponsoring the event).

Ashley Walsh moved to the top of the timesheets with 20 minutes to go in the sole Dick Johnson Racing Ford running in the session – the #17 was still being repaired after its FP1 dramas – until he was displaced by Steve Owen in the #5 FPR Falcon, and then almost immediately bettered by Reynolds’ co-driver Dean Canto.

With five minutes left, there was another red flag when Andre Heimgartner spun the wildcard SuperBlack Racing Ford at McPhillamy Park. Once the action was resumed, the remaining runners had enough time for no more than two flying laps, and it was Bathurst ace Greg Murphy who moved to the top of the timesheets with a 2:08.5365 time on his second flying lap in the #22 HRT Commodore, which was ultimately half a second down on Moster’s best in FP1.

Murphy continued to lead the way in the opening minutes of FP3 from Winterbottom and Alexandre Prémat in the #33 Volvo.

The times started to come down when Mostert lowered his FP1 benchmark time, but he was displaced by Tander, who became the first driver to lap in the 2:07 range.

The former champion’s joy was short-lived after he had a sizeable accident at The Dipper – Robert Dahlgren had sent his Volvo into the barriers about 15 minutes earlier, triggering a red flag – that brought an end to his session and brought out the red flags once again.

When the action resumed, the times tumbled and in the end it was Reynolds who came out on top, beating the track record with a 2:06.3714 to finish ahead of Winterbottom/Owen and the Lockwood Racing Holden of Fabian Coulthard. Scott McLaughlin was the fastest Volvo driver in fourth, with James Moffat the fastest Nissan in ninth, while the best placed Erebus Mercedes driver was Will Davison in 16th.

Friday sees two further practice sessions at 09:45 and 13:10 AEDST (GMT +11) before preliminary qualifying gets underway at 15:00 – the session will determine the non-top-ten grid places and which drivers will compete in Saturday’s on-lap ‘Top-10 Shootout’.

2014 V8 Supercars Bathurst 1000 – Consolidated Thursday Practice Results:

Driver Team / Entry Result
1. David Reynolds / Dean Canto Ford The Bottle-O Racing Team 2:06.3714
2. Mark Winterbottom / Steve Owen Ford Pepsi Max Crew Ford Performance Racing + 0.1099
3. Fabian Coulthard / Luke Youlden Holden Lockwood Racing + 0.1749
4. Scott McLaughlin / Alexandre Premat Volvo Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM + 0.4385
5. Jason Bright / Andrew Jones Holden Team BOC + 0.4784
6. Shane van Gisbergen / Jonathon Webb Holden Team TEKNO VIP Petfoods + 0.5686
7. James Courtney / Greg Murphy Holden Holden Racing Team + 0.5761
8. Craig Lowndes / Steven Richards Holden Red Bull Racing Australia + 0.6028
9. James Moffat / Taz Douglas Nissan Norton Hornets + 0.6440
10. Chaz Mostert / Paul Morris Ford Pepsi Max Crew Ford Performance Racing + 0.6790
11. Michael Caruso / Dean Fiore Nissan Norton Hornets + 1.0173
12. Rick Kelly / David Russell Nissan Jack Daniel’s Racing + 1.0335
13. Garth Tander / Warren Luff Holden Holden Racing Team + 1.2675
14. Jack Perkins / Cameron Waters Ford Team Jeld-Wen + 1.3509
15. Todd Kelly / Alex Buncombe Nissan Jack Daniel’s Racing + 1.7428
16. Will Davison / Alex Davison AMG Erebus Motorsport V8 + 1.7432
17. Jamie Whincup / Paul Dumbrell Holden Red Bull Racing Australia + 1.8438
18. Lee Holdsworth / Craig Baird AMG Erebus Motorsport V8 + 2.0321
19. Dale Wood / Chris Pither Holden Team ADVAM / GB + 2.1633
20. Scott Pye / Ashley Walsh Ford Wilson Security Racing + 2.1857
21. Nick Percat / Oliver Gavin Holden HHA Racing + 2.3365
22. Tim Slade / Tony D’Alberto Holden SuperCheap Auto Racing + 2.4498
23. Russell Ingall / Tim Blanchard Holden Repair Management Australia Racing + 2.6707
24. David Wall / Steven Johnson Ford Wilson Security Racing + 3.9670
25. Robert Dahlgren / Greg Ritter Volvo Valvoline Racing Polestar GRM + 4.0685
26. Andre Heimgartner / Ant Pedersen Ford SuperBlack Racing + 4.6755

Images via Christian Hartung

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Christian Hartung