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Mount Panorama
Thursday, May 30, 2024


THERE’S no slowing down seven-time champion Jamie Whincup as he topped his first competitive Supercars session since retiring from full-time duties.

Whincup was the best part of three tenths clear by the end of the half-hour additional driver practice at Sandown this afternoon, leading Garth Tander in a Triple Eight one-two after both knocked off Walkinshaw Andretti United’s Fabian Coulthard late in the piece.

It was thus an impressive return to the #88 Red Bull Ampol ZB Commodore for Whincup, who’ll co-drive with Broc Feeney at the Repco Bathurst 1000 in October.

“I actually had a really good day,” the 39-year-old reported.

“Enjoyed just being able to go out there and have a bit of a free swing and a bit of a Friday fang as you’d call it and cut some laps… I’m enjoying a bit of a blast from the past.

“It’s foreign, it’s difficult when you don’t drive the car all year.

“Although it is exactly the same chassis as what I raced last year, Broc has changed all the ergonomics quite a bit so you feel a bit foreign, you’re not in your car and you wobble it around to try to produce a lap time.”

Whincup’s effort helped Feeney to the first end-of-day press conference of his young Supercars career.

“He’s been putting in a bit of work, we went go-karting and that together and obviously working together at the test days and ride days,” said Feeney.

The #88 Red Bull Ampol Racing ZB Commodore. Pic: Mark Horsburgh

“It was the first time that it feels real that he is actually my co-driver today.”

While Whincup laughed he was enjoying a return to driver life as opposed to his new-for-2022 position of team principal and managing director, Triple Eight star Shane van Gisbergen spent Friday afternoon studying.

“We don’t get the outsiders’ perspective as much anymore with one enduro a year so I just sat in the back of the garage and watched the timing and listened to the engineers and both drivers,” said van Gisbergen.

“It’s good to listen to how they work and how Andrew (Edwards, engineer) communicates with all of the guys as well, it was really cool.

“It’s good to get that perspective on things and see how the team works on the outside.

“I had a pretty shitty session myself in the first practice and got a lot of tips from the other drivers watching that session because you see so much more when you’re out of the car.”

Earlier in the day, Will Davison topped Practice 1 in a Shell V-Power Racing Team one-three.

Practice 3, starting 10:20am tomorrow, will give primary drivers a final hitout before a three-part qualifying format sets the grid for Race 24.  

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