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Mostert paces wet opening Adelaide 500 practice

CHAZ Mostert topped a wet opening practice session on Thursday afternoon at the VAILO Adelaide 500, as he bids to avoid a winless Supercars season.

The Walkinshaw Andretti United driver made the most of grim conditions that resulted in the first extended running on the new-for-2023 wet tyre.

Mostert set the early pace and sat atop the order at the 10-minute mark, before being eclipsed by the Grove Racing Ford of Matt Payne a short time later.

Payne showed the way until just inside 10 minutes remaining in the half-hour hitout, with Mostert twice improving and eventually leaving the benchmark at 1:28.6140s.

Shane van Gisbergen was the first to try slicks with six minutes on the clock but another sprinkle of ran thwarted any chance of improving his earlier time.

Andre Heimgartner ended up the best of the Chevrolet Camaro runners in second, 0.2588s adrift of Mostert, ahead of Payne and late-improvers Will Brown and Thomas Randle.

Nick Percat, Anton De Pasquale, Will Davison, Brodie Kostecki and James Courtney completed the top 10.

Van Gisbergen ended up 22nd, but with a straight car despite what appeared a risky move.

“We were just running to the conditions,” explained team manager Mark Dutton.

“We thought it was about to be dry enough to run slicks, Shane went out there and said immediately he felt a little bit of grip but then he said in a few spots it started sprinkling again.

“No hidden messages (to title rivals Erebus Motorsport), just trying to learn as much from the session – we could well have to do that in the race.”

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Despite the slippery conditions, the session went green for its duration and featured few notable incidents.

WAU driver Percat, though, did knock the wing from his Mustang in a touch with the wall out of the Senna Chicane.

“I had a touch of the wall through 3,” he confessed.

“Somehow it has peeled the rear wing off it so we’re investigating that, if it’s the way the wings are made and stuff like that, so it could be a bit of a learning for all of the Ford teams or Supercars with this rear wing.

“It hasn’t made contact with the rear quarter panel but somehow the mounting and all of that has separated from the actual wing itself to the actual mounts on the car.

Percat meanwhile noted the extra grip provided by the 2023 version of the grooved rubber, despite an Adelaide track surface that has only had a year to cure.

“It was probably the most confidence I’ve had in a Supercar in the wet out of the gate,” he said.

“Normally the hard wet on a slippery track, it takes a few laps just to build in, but these new wets seem pretty speedy.”

Results: Practice 1, 2023 VAILO Adelaide 500

125Chaz MostertWAUFord1:28.6140s
28Andre HeimgartnerBJRChevrolet+0.2588s
319Matthew PayneGroveFord+0.3172s
49Will BrownErebusChevrolet+0.4234s
555Thomas RandleTickfordFord+0.5343s
62Nick PercatWAUFord+0.5941s
711Anton De PasqualeDJRFord+0.6905s
817Will DavisonDJRFord+0.7255s
999Brodie KosteckiErebusChevrolet+0.7711s
105James CourtneyTickfordFord+0.7765s
1131James GoldingPremiAirChevrolet+0.9311s
1243Cam WatersTickfordFord+1.0373s
1326David ReynoldsGroveFord+1.2618s
1414Bryce FullwoodBJRChevrolet+1.2997s
1523Tim SladePremiAirChevrolet+1.3097s
1688Broc FeeneyTriple EightChevrolet+1.3289s
1756Declan FraserTickfordFord+1.4418s
1834Jack Le BrocqMSRChevrolet+1.482s
1996Macauley JonesBJRChevrolet+1.5337s
2035Cameron HillMSRChevrolet+1.7583s
214Jack SmithBJRChevrolet+1.816s
2297Shane van GisbergenTriple EightChevrolet+2.1682s
233Todd HazelwoodBRTFord+2.2293s
2420Scott PyeTeam 18Chevrolet+2.4498s
2518Mark WinterbottomTeam 18Chevrolet+3.0155s
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