Mark Laucke needs a big weekend to return to championship contention in the Australian Prototype Series – and though it’s early days Sydney Motorsport Park could be it.
The South Australian currently sits third in the APS standings but comfortably topped all three practice sessions today at the 3.9km circuit in Sydney’s West – nearly a full second faster than his nearest rival.
Though times slowed throughout the day as the track conditions warmed up, Laucke punched out a flying 1m28.69s in the first practice session – quicker than he qualified at the venue twelve months ago.
Peter Paddon was second fastest and first of the Radical competitors, the home-town hero representing the strong local brigade well today.
Michael Shaw was third overall while John-Paul Drake was fourth in the Jam Motorsport West WX10.
Kim Burke was fifth, APS points leader Phil Hughes sixth and Chris Sutton seventh.
Jason Makris was eighth overall, though second fastest in the final session, while Terry Peovitis (RFR1000 FL1) was ninth.
Gerrit Ruff completed the top-10, while Mark Short, Chris Perini (Radical SR3), Scott Mackay, Jonathan Stoeckel, Aaron Lewis and Sue Hughes completed the order after three sessions.
Though Laucke’s margin at the pointy-end of the field was substantial, the competitive nature of the grid this weekend was on show throughout the three sessions.
In practice two, second through ninth places were covered by just 0.7 seconds, while the top-10 runners in practice three were covered by just 1.6 in total.
With consistent sunshine forecast throughout the weekend, quick times are expected in qualifying in the cooler conditions on Saturday morning, while race one will be contested in conditions similar to the third session today – with a warmer track.
The fast and flowing Sydney Motorsport Park layout is expected to produce highly competitive racing this weekend, with slipstreaming down the long Brabham Straight and potentially close finishes expected to be the feature.
Qualifying will commence at 9:50am on Saturday, followed by race one at 1:20pm.