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Teams, drivers react to Perth practice shake-up

THE move to a single, 90-minute practice format in Perth has been met with positive reactions from several members of the Supercars paddock.

Team owners Stephen Grove and Tim Blanchard welcomed the change – which is a one-off at this stage – having seen David Reynolds and Todd Hazelwood put their respective teams first and second leading into qualifying.

“From our perspective it’s good, especially with the new car and getting as much track time with Matty (Payne) as well,” said Grove.

“I really like the format because it just gives us such a long period of time to do a lot of changes and a lot of testing and trying different things. So for us, I like it.”

Blanchard echoed those sentiments, albeit noting he’s interested to gauge fan feedback.

“From the team perspective I agree (with Grove); you can do race runs, do some quali sim, you can achieve a lot that you normally can’t in say a 30-minute session,” he said.

“I’ll be interested to see what the feedback is from the fans. From the fan perspective it gets a lot more interesting watching those last five minutes where everyone puts tyres on and the last few minutes watching people jump up and down.

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“So whether having two or three separate sessions you get two or three effective results, even though it’s only practice throughout the day, whether that’s more interesting for the fans..

“But from a team perspective especially with these new cars when we’re trying to develop them, I think more laps and having the window to be able to do some proper changes and race runs is beneficial.”

Triple Eight Race Engineering’s Broc Feeney encountered an unexpected issue that interrupted his progress.

“I didn’t mind the 90-minute session – it certainly doesn’t feel like that long at all,” he said.

“The only problem was that I had to get out of the car and go to the bathroom after about half an hour, so I need to work a bit more on that!

Broc Feeney. Pic: Supplied

“It’s a bit weird thinking we go straight into qualifying now but it was quite enjoyable as a driver to get a heap of laps in.

“I hope the fans enjoyed it too.”

Neither Triple Eight car finished practice inside the top 10, with Shane van Gisbergen revealing a troublesome run for his side of the garage.

“It was a tough session for us,” said the #97 Camaro driver.

“We had quite a few problems with the car throughout the session which was a real shame, but the crew worked hard to get those problems sorted.

“In saying that, we were fortunate that this practice session was 90-minutes long because it allowed us to return to the garage and fix those problems, and actually understand what was going on without time constraints.

“If we had similar issues today in our normal 30-minute practice sessions then we would have hardly had any track time today, so there’s a positive there.

“The margins across the field are super tight, so we’ll debrief tonight and make some changes for qualifying tomorrow.”

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