Tim Slade caused something of a surprise by posting the fastest overall time in the Supercars pre-season test at Sydney Motorsport Park, lapping almost half a second clear of the rest of the field.
The Brad Jones Racing driver – whose car sported a distinctive new livery with continued backing by Freightliner – posted his best lap time of 1:28.6157 just before the end of the test day.
Slade finished 0.489 seconds quicker than DJR Team Penske’s Fabian Coulthard, who edged Nissan Motorsport’s Michael Caruso – who was fastest in the morning session – into third spot on the timesheets by just 0.0395 seconds.
Coulthard’s teammate Scott McLaughlin was the true pace-setter for much of the day, however the Kiwi suffered a dramatic high-speed crash when a front tyre went down on approach to Turn 1. His Ford skipped across the gravel trap at over 200km/h before slamming head-on into the tyre wall, fortunately without causing injuries to last year’s championship runner-up.
The damage to his car was substantial, forcing him out of the rest of the session and dropping him to sixth overall by the end of the day as others improved.
Shane van Gisbergen survived a minor pit lane altercation with former TEKNO Autosport teammate Jonathon Webb to finish fourth-fastest in his Red Bull Holden Racing Team ZB Commodore.
With Nick Percat finishing fifth-fastest in the second of Brad Jones Racing’s three Holdens, it was a solid day both for the team and the all-new ZB Commodore model, which makes its competitive debut this year.
TEKNO Autosports rookie Jack Le Brocq finished an impressive seventh-fastest ahead of reigning champion Jamie Whincup in the second Red Bull Holden.
Cameron Waters edged Tickford Racing teammate Mark Winterbottom, with the pair closing out the top ten runners.
The field will now regroup and head to Adelaide for the season-opening Adelaide 500 round on March 2-4.
Image via Supercars