Returning star shines in Phillip Island practice

Returning Porsche Carrera Cup Australia champion Nick Foster and teammate Graham Williams have completed a Sonic Motor Racing 1-2-3 sweep in practice today at Phillip Island.

The 2015 champion and his new teammate topped the charts across three 20-minute practice sessions thanks to Foster’s 1m30.3846s lap banked early in the final session.

It marks a strong start for the Victorian outfit that has yet to be beaten to pole position in a Carrera Cup event this year.

The pair will share the #131 Porsche that Williams used to make his Carrera Cup debut at the Australian Grand Prix in March earlier this year.

In cool yet sunny conditions, Foster’s time was only 0.3s slower than Matt Campbell’s qualifying lap record at the circuit and comfortably under the race lap record – currently held by Scott McLaughlin.

“It’s great to be back and working with these guys again,” Foster said of reuniting with his championship-winning Sonic team.

“It’s a different experience and feeling because I’m here with no pressure and to help Graham this weekend. We’ve had a long-term plan that we have been working towards to get him into the class and start the learning process and this is all part of it.

“He’s done a great job today and has gone quicker than he ever has around this place.

“It’s been a good day, the car feels good and it’s nice to be back here racing.”

Current championship leader Andre Heimgartner and co-driver Aaron Ireland were second overall, just 0.08s behind Foster’s flyer today.

Ireland, who is contesting just his second ever national-level Porsche event this weekend, was an impressive 10th quickest in the dedicated Am-drivers session held earlier on Friday morning.

Nick McBride and Dylan Thomas set the third quickest overall time today, the #77 car banking a best of 1m30.74s in the final session.

Jaxon Evans and Tim Miles were fourth overall in his McElrea Racing #7 machine, just 0.1s behind McBride’s best, while the #888 entry of Alex Davison and Geoff Emery were fifth fastest on the combined times.

Dylan O’Keefe/Adam Gowans (6th), Cameron McConville/Tony Bates (7th), Stephen Grove/Tim Slade (8th), Dean Grant/Lee Holdsworth (9th) and Marc Cini/Dean Fiore completed the top-10 runners on combined practice times.

Just 1.4 seconds covered the top-10 runners today ahead of this weekend’s highly anticipated Pro-Am event.

The depth of the field was indicated in the stand-alone ‘Am’ drivers session held on Friday morning, just one second covering the seven fastest drivers in a session topped by Sam Shahin – on his Carrera Cup debut.

Geoff Emery was second and Dylan Thomas was third.

The high-speed Phillip Island circuit struck early in the session when Anthony Gilbertson unfortunately crashed the Horsley Park Gun Shop car he will share with James Abela at the hayshed.

Despite a high-speed impact, the McElrea Racing team will have the car repaired and back on track in time for qualifying on Saturday morning.

The Porsche Carrera Cup Australia Pro-Am continues on Saturday with a pair of 15-minute qualifying sessions, one each for the Pro and Am drivers contesting the event.

The combined times will then set the grid for the first one-hour race to commence at 3:00pm local time.

Race Schedule
Saturday May 27, 2017
9:25am Qualifying 1 (15 minutes)
12:05pm Qualifying 2 (15 minutes)
3:00pm Race 1 (60 minutes)
Sunday May 28, 2017
10:45am Warm Up (10 minutes)
12:30pm Race 2 (60 minutes)

Live Streaming (available at www.motorsportaustraliachampionships.com.au)
Sunday May 28, 2017
10:45am Warm Up (10 minutes)
12:30pm Race 2 (60 minutes)