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Brown denies Erebus in wet-dry Practice 2

WILL Brown pipped Erebus Motorsport stand-in Todd Hazelwood to the fastest time in a flying finish to Practice 2 at the Thrifty Bathurst 500.

Called up to drive the #99 Camaro at Bathurst in place of the absent Brodie Kostecki, Hazelwood sat atop the order when a red flag flew seven minutes from the finish.

Hazelwood improved his own benchmark after the session resumed, only to be denied at the death by Brown, who defected from Erebus to Triple Eight ahead of the 2024 season.

It was an exciting end to a 60-minute hit-out defined by changing track conditions.

Will Davison trapped in the sand trap at pit entry. Source: Fox Sports

Heavy rain fell as the session started and resulted in Anton De Pasquale aquaplaning off into the sand at The Chase just seven minutes in.

David Reynolds arrived moments later and suffered a similar fate, although his Team 18 Camaro slapped the outside wall on its way into the gravel.

Those incidents brought out a lengthy red flag spell, at which point only Richie Stanaway and Brown had completed timed laps, the former on top with 2:32.6368s.

By the time the session resumed the rain had stopped and the combination of warm conditions, sunshine and the number of cars on track gradually dried the circuit.

Times reduced to the point where drivers began opting for slicks – a move not without risk considering the water that remained either side of the racing line.

That caught out Bryce Fullwood, who tagged the left-side concrete on the way into Forrest’s Elbow with 23 minutes remaining.

Despite carrying suspension damage, Fullwood was able to limp his Brad Jones Racing Camaro back to pitlane without causing a red flag.

“Coming down through the Esses and that back side of the Mountain wasn’t getting the wind and it was really wet there on the slicks,” he said.

The remainder of the field was meanwhile migrating to slicks and the fastest time was down to 2:09.7887s – set by Hazelwood – when the second red flag stoppage occurred.

That came with seven minutes on the clock when Will Davison misjudged the slippery pit entry and beached his Dick Johnson Racing Mustang in the sand trap.

With the red flag time allowance exhausted, the clock continued to tick and there was time for just one more flying lap once the session went green again.

Hazelwood improved to 2:08.0347s before Brown lobbed in the session-topping 2:07.5507s to end his first day as a Triple Eight driver on top.

Todd Hazelwood during Practice 2. Pic: Nathan Wong

The flurry of late improvements left Practice 1 pacesetter Feeney third from Grove Racing’s Matt Payne, Matt Stone Racing’s Nick Percat and Tickford Racing star Cam Waters.

Waters’ session included a wild moment in The Cutting in which the Monster Mustang appeared to make light contact with the concrete.

The top 10 was rounded out by Macauley Jones, Andre Heimgartner, Cam Hill and Chaz Mostert, whose rookie teammate Ryan Wood one place further back.

Reynolds’ Camaro was repaired from its early incident and returned to the track for the final 15 minutes, ending up 12th fastest, directly ahead of De Pasquale.

Hazelwood’s Erebus teammate Jack Le Brocq managed just 22nd fastest. His car had undergone an engine change between sessions after an issue on his outlap.

The Repco Supercars Championship field will return to track for qualifying on Saturday at 10:20am, ahead of a Top 10 Shootout and the 250km Race 1 of the season.

RESULTS: Practice 2, 2024 Thrifty Bathurst 500

PosNo.DriverTeamCarTime
187Will BrownTriple EightChevrolet2m07.5507
299Todd HazelwoodErebusChevrolet+0.4840s
388Broc Feeney Triple EightChevrolet+0.5937s
419Matt PayneGroveFord+0.7263s
510Nick PercatMSRChevrolet+0.8021s
66Cam WatersTickfordFord+0.8143s
796Macauley JonesBJRChevrolet+0.8428s
88Andre HeimgartnerBJRChevrolet+0.9681s
94Cameron Hill MSRChevrolet+0.9756s
1025Chaz MostertWAUFord+1.0084s
112Ryan Wood WAUFord+1.0820s
1220David ReynoldsTeam 18Chevrolet+1.2680s
1311Anton De PasqualeDJRFord+1.3086s
1414Bryce FullwoodBJRChevrolet+1.3984s
157James CourtneyBRTFord+1.4526s
1617Will DavisonDJRFord+1.4907s
1723Tim SladePremiAirChevrolet+1.5049s
1826Richie StanawayGroveFord+1.554s
1912Jaxon Evans BJRChevrolet+1.6582s
203Aaron LoveBRTFord+1.7084s
2155Thomas Randle TickfordFord+1.7575s
229Jack Le BrocqErebusChevrolet+2.0763s
2331James Golding PremiAirChevrolet+4.1763s
24100Mark WinterbottomTeam 18Chevrolet+5.7386s
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