Under-the-weather Supercars ace Chaz Mostert has turned in a superb reaction to his Adelaide 500 stuff-up by putting his Ford Mustang on top of the timing charts at the Australian Grand Prix.
Mostert was almost half a second faster than the field in a sharp showing at the Albert Park street circuit, finishing the meet’s first practice session on Thursday with a 1:55.5743 lap.
The Tickford Racing ace t-boned Rick Kelly in pit lane a fortnight ago to kill the Nissan man’s hopes of a decent points haul on the opening weekend of the campaign.
Mostert apologised and accepted blame for the bungle, one of a number of errors that befell car No.55 over the weekend.
The 26-year-old looks set to increase his return this weekend, as long as he can shake a nasty cold that had him spluttering in pit lane.
Mostert said he was also battling communications issues, even if he was able to put his Mustang on top by throwing on fresh tyres late in the 30-minute session.
“The session was pretty tough for us. We had a lot of comms issues. I couldn’t hear what (engineer) Adam (De Borre) was saying and I couldn’t relay what I needed from the car,” he said.
“But putting a green tyre on the end, it really showed a lot of pace.”
Series leader and reigning champion Scott McLaughlin spent much of the session on top before sliding down the ranks to be eighth, without fresh tyres.
Anton de Pasquale, Jamie Whincup and Mark Winterbottom were the next fastest after Mostert.
Shane van Gisbergen finished third-last after completing the fewest amount of laps for the field, complaining of a bad splitter vibration.
“We pitted and tried to fix it … we’ll spend some time now and get it fixed,” he said.
“It’s a shame to miss a session.
“We’ll see what we can learn from (teammate Jamie Whincup’s car No.97) … and start with their set-up.”
The Supercars will race for championship points and the Larry Perkins Trophy in Melbourne, competing over four races between Friday and Sunday.