Former Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 winner Chaz Mostert has signalled his intention of claiming a maiden win at Phillip Island by setting a blistering lap record time during practice this afternoon.
It ended a chaotic day on the Phillip Island circuit with Craig Lowndes, the greatest race winner in Supercars history, crashing into a barrier after a tyre failure at 240km/h.
The 11-time Phillip Island race winner walked away from the crash and was cleared of any injury, but is racing the clock to have his car repaired in time for tomorrow’s opening qualifying session and the first 250km race of the weekend.
Mostert will head into qualifying full of confidence after his lap record during practice two saw him clock the fastest time of the day in front of the New Zealand pairing of Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen and last year’s Phillip Island champion, Scott McLaughlin.
Mostert will be hoping to claim his maiden championship win for the year tomorrow afternoon in race one, after a mistake while leading cost him victory in Tasmania two weeks ago.
“You know obviously, I was pretty annoyed with myself at Tasmania making that little error but I was pretty lucky I had the Bathurst six hour between this weekend and the last time we went out in one of these,” he said.
“So the only real memory I’ve got is a second-place finish at the six-hour so I’m trying to strive off that happy feeling and go out there and crack this weekend.”
McLaughlin won both races on the Phillip Island track last year in a Volvo, but showed he will be just as competitive this year in his Shell V-Power Ford at one of his favourite tracks.
“I like the speed, I like the flow and the track being able to keep the speed up into the corner and slide a little bit and get away with it a bit more than other tracks, it’s a lot of fun,” McLaughlin said.
Van Gisbergen (pictured) also had tyre failure this afternoon but recovered to clock the second quickest time of the day. He said he was fortunate to have avoided an accident like Lowndes’ when his tyre was damaged.
“Because it was the right front and I could still turn right because of the left side. If it was into turn two or another corner like Craig had, it would have been a trouble,” van Gisbergen said.
“It was a pretty decent bang went instantly with no warning but just pulled it around the corner and just bought it back slowly.”
Meanwhile fellow Kiwi Fabian Coulthard, second in the championship, hit the fence at low speed after sailing through the gravel track on the slippery surface as many did today.
This weekend’s format of two gruelling 250km races is the longest single-driver Championship races at Phillip Island since the 500km enduros 1976 and 1977.
The first qualifying session begins tomorrow at 12:45pm with the first race to begin tomorrow afternoon at 3:45pm and qualifying and the second race held on Sunday.
Every practice, qualifying and race, as well as support categories, from the WD-40 Phillip Island 500 will be broadcast live, ad-break free on Fox Sports 506 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.