Ford driver James Moffat has emerged fastest in the co-drivers’ practice session at the Bathurst 1000 after Mount Panorama claimed yet more scalps.
Moffat – co-driver for former Bathurst champion Chaz Mostert – topped the time sheets with a lap of two minutes, 05.66 seconds.
Series leader Scott McLaughlin’s teammate Alex Premat was second fastest ahead of Ford gun Fabian Coulthard’s co-driver Tony D’Alberto.
Seven-time Bathurst champion Craig Lowndes made an encouraging return to the track after retiring from full-time driving last year, clocking the eighth fastest time in the one hour session as Jamie Whincup’s co-driver.
“It was nice to get back out there. It was not perfect but I was getting back into the swing of things,” Lowndes said.
But leading Holden team Penrite Racing came off second best at the challenging Mount Panorama circuit.
Former Bathurst champion David Reynolds’ co-driver Luke Youlden prompted a red flag just 22 minutes in the session after he ran wide and hit the wall at Reid Park.
Youlden was shaken and remained in the medical centre where he was being monitored for concussion.
“I am fine. There was lots of understeer … and just didn’t make it out, went in too deep – I just messed up,” said Youlden, who is contesting his 20th Bathurst campaign.
Reynolds looked shell-shocked in the Penrite garage as he watched Youlden slam heavily into the wall.
“Luke’s fine, he’s just bashed himself up. He’s just probably emotionally scarred,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds now faces an anxious wait as his Penrite Racing team work away on the damage to his Commodore with qualifying starting on Friday.
“It’s difficult when you have a big shunt around here. Hopefully he (Youlden) just relies on his experience and his skill and we’ll give him some laps and build himself up again,” Reynolds said.
“But I need laps too. I’m confident around here but I need to be super confident to qualify up the front. It’s not ideal right now, but we’ll just have to make it work.”
A second red flag came out in the second session when Ash Walsh locked up and went into the gravel at Murray’s Corner with 25 minutes left in the session.
The second session only featured 25 cars after young gun Macauley Jones’ Holden did not emerge from the garage following a crash in opening practice.
Jones lasted just 24 minutes before hitting the concrete wall at The Cutting, a notorious pair of corners on the track, so hard it loosened the roof.
Jones emerged unscathed but his team must work furiously to get their Commodore ready before Thursday’s final practice session starting at 1550 AEDT.