IT was a case of co-driver, fast driver on day one of this year's Bathurst 1000 as Red Bull Ampol Racing's Garth Tander topped the timesheet.
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Behind the wheel of the #97 Commodore he shares with current Supercars series leader Shane van Gisbergen, Tander clocked a 2:04.1359 on just his fourth flying lap of the second practice session.
Here's what Tander, as well as others who tackled Mount Panorama on day one, had to say:
Shane van Gisbergen, #97 Red Bull Ampol Racing
"We've had a good first day. It was nice to have some dry running because we didn't expect it when we had our briefings yesterday. The forecast early this week said it would be raining for all four days, so to get those laps in the dry conditions was nice. Overall, it was a good positive day, but we have to remember it's only Thursday," van Gisbergen said.
"It was a strange thing that our car never saw a wet tyre all day though. As I said, early signs are looking good, but it's never good to be happy on Thursday. There's still a long way to go before Sunday's race, and we have no idea what weather will be thrown our way."
Garth Tander, #97 Red Bull Ampol Racing
"The car has been really nice today, and the track is really fast. There's a bit of epoxy on the track that's being spread around and it's quite inconsistent. We still have a few things we want to improve with the car to make it better," Tander said.
"We ran a few different set ups during practice two, and tomorrow will be about fine-tuning our ideal set up. I feel very comfortable in the car, especially up the top of the mountain, and overall, I'm really happy with the start we've had.
"There's some slow-speed areas of the car we want to improve without hurting the high-speed areas, and there's some high-speed things we want to improve without hurting the low-speed. We managed to collect a heap of information tonight so we'll make some changes overnight and hopefully roll out fast tomorrow."
Lee Holdsworth, #10 Penrite Racing
"Overall I'm really pleased with our day. The car had good balance out of the box so it's given me confidence to push," he said.
"Matt [Payne] did a good getting up to speed today, it's a very long weekend but we've ticked the first box. We know the rain is coming, but I'm looking forward to seeing how our cars go in wet conditions."
Will Davison, #17 Shell V-Power Racing
"We had a good day, we had dry running in the end. My session this morning was drying all the time with quite a lot of wet patches across the entire track. We were able to get a read on some of the things we wanted to try today and it was good to get a read in the dry and I was pretty happy with how it felt and went quickest," he said.
"Alex also had a good, solid session. He dropped down the order in the last part of the session, but we didn't put him on a new set of tyres. He looked consistent and comfortable. A good, solid first day in the books."
Alex Davison, #17 Shell V-Power Racing
"Overall, we had a good day. First session for me is about getting up to speed, getting comfortable, and understanding the car and we achieved that. We were going pretty well during the session," he said.
"I think the result at the end really tell the story, I just didn't get a lap after the red flag. But happy with how we are tracking, overall the car feels good."
Mark Winterbottom, #18 IRWIN Racing Team 18
"Happy with how the day went. We had a few little issues with brakes early in the day but we got on top of those and we're ready to have a big crack in qualifying tomorrow," Winterbottom said.
Michael Caruso, #18 IRWIN Racing Team 18
"Good to be back in the car today, just getting back in the swing of things," Caruso said.
"Car was reasonable but a couple of bits and pieces to work on, hard to know what to take away considering what we know with the weather for the next few days, but it was good to have a good run, we got help up on our fastest lap so it's very early days. It's only practice and we'll focus on what's coming up next."
Scott Pye, #20 Alspec Racing Team 18
"Great session to start the day, got out of the car with about 10 minutes remaining and we were fourth, so I think the car is in the window, and then Tyler had his session in the afternoon and did a great job, so looking forward to the rest of the weekend," he said.
Tyler Everingham #20 Alspec Racing Team 18
"Pretty busy day running both Super 2 and Supercars, but I'm coping well.
"Got to jump in and do a few laps in practice one this morning, and felt pretty comfortable straight away. The second session was quite good, we didn't quite get the tyre on like we wanted, but still a good session to end up twelfth.
"It was good to get the full session in and make sure everything's sorted for the rest of the weekend."
David Reynolds, #26 Penrite Racing
"In practice one the track was really greasy and the car was hard to drive, so my confidence was low, but we made good changes in the session and I was able to put a fast lap together by the end of it," he said.
"At the end of the co-driver session this afternoon we put Matt Campbell on new tyres and he did a very nice lap time, I'm really happy with how he went. He gives great engineering feedback and it is easy to see why he's a world class driver.
"I'm happy we've done some dry running today, whatever happens with the weather I feel ready to go for qualifying."
Matt Campbell, #26 Penrite Racing:
"I'm feeling comfortable in the car, it was a slow start for me but I was really happy with how it ended. It looked pretty iffy with the conditions throughout the session," he said.
"We don't know what the weather conditions are going to do, I think it's anyone's game on Sunday, Dave has shown how fast he can be here in mixed conditions so I don't see any reason why we can't be up the pointy end after a solid day one."
Broc Feeney, #88 Red Bull Ampol Racing
"It's been a pretty good day. I think we're all surprised that we got some dry running in both sessions, but I hate talking about the weather because that's all that everyone's taking about at the moment. In saying that, it's possibly our last dry running before the race, but overall it was a pretty decent day," Feeney said.
"I managed to get P7 for myself in practice one and JDub [Jamie Whincup] was P3 in the co-driver session, so the car is almost where we need it to be. Our biggest focus is trying to get as many laps in as possible and try to get an understanding of the track as well.
"The times were very fast for a Thursday, so there's some super quick times, but we have some stuff to work on."
Jamie Whincup, #88 Red Bull Ampol Racing
"It was an up-and-down session for us. I don't think we're as quick as the other car in our garage, and also our sister car at PremiAir Racing was very fast this morning as well. I think there's a bit of learning for us to do to get the #88 car a bit quicker," Whincup said.
"It's the same car as what I had last year, but Broc has changed the ergonomics quite a lot and I've had to consume myself in co-driver life where everything isn't perfect and you can't have the car exactly the way you like it, but that's the way it goes."
Anton De Pasquale, #100 Shell V-Power Racing
"We had a couple of practice sessions today, one each for Tony and I. We somehow managed to get two pretty dry sessions. We learnt a couple of things but I think the weather is coming tomorrow, but you never know," he said.
"So, we will see what it is like most likely in the wet tomorrow and go from there."
Tony D'Alberto, #100 Shell V-Power Racing
"I had a tricky first session, the balance of the car didn't inspire a lot of confidence. The first session of the weekend, you want a car that gives you confidence and we didn't quite nail that," he said.
"I didn't feel quite in tune with the whole thing and we've got a bit of work to do. We know why, but it didn't help me in that session as it was too late to back out of it.
"We have some work to do, but the conditions are going to be very different tomorrow."
Matt Chada, #118 Caltex Young Guns
"It's good we're just easing into it, which is sort of the plan for the whole weekend. Started off with it being a bit wet but it was a dry track by the end so feeling good, didn't make any mistakes which is always a good way to start our weekend," Chada said.
""We didn't get to do our second run which we really wanted to get done because someone elses' mistake caused a red flag, but there is still a lot of practice to go, not too stressed how we go early on when we have several more hour of practice before we start really worrying about being fast.
"We know the car is good and we know the car is set to be pretty bloody close to the others. It's a good car and it's not too far from where we want it to be."
Jaylyn Robotham, #118 Caltex Young Guns
"Today was pretty good. It was just building up confidence in the car and getting laps under our belt, and me and Matt both did that. The car is still straight so that's the main thing," he said.
"We're not sure who's going to qualify the car tomorrow, we have another couple of practice sessions tomorrow so we will get an idea of who's quicker, we can both do good race times, but we haven't really worked out for the qualifying run. We're both not fussed; we want to do what's best for the team so whoever is quicker, we will do that.
"The car is pretty good, we both like how the car was going: There's just a little more in both of us in adapting to the car as we're both used to different things."
Craig Lowndes, #888 Supercheap Auto
"It's great to be back - no doubt it's always a special place to come and race a race car around. The lead in week, weather wise, was looking terrible so it was really positive to have a dry session. We got through a lot of set up changes - we got a really positive feel for where the car is at - we got a good direction of where we want to go with the car and Declan (Fraser) did a fantastic job just then in the co-driver session," Lowndes said.
"I think both of us are feeling really comfortable in the car, it flows really nice across the top of the mountain, we will just fine tune it now and see what the weather does tomorrow. For setups, we weren't looking for outright speed, we were just looking to make sure both Declan and myself were both comfortable in the car.
"Today was just about getting familiar again with the car, circuit and conditions - then of course come tomorrow we will start ramping it up and turning it more into a qualifying car. I've got to now focus on that side of things for the first time in two years, so I'm a little excited about seeing if we get into the top 10."
Declan Fraser, #888 Supercheap Auto
"Today was my first ever main game session, so it's pretty cool to tick that one off the list. We just worked through as much as possible and just built our speed up. We had pretty good pace and just need to make a few more improvements and hopefully tomorrow we can do a better job," Fraser said.
"The car feels amazing - so cool to be in a ZB Commodore around this awesome place and to be out there representing Supercheap Auto and Triple Eight and all of the other partners that are on board making this possible, it's a very special feeling to me to be out there with the likes of Tander and Whincup - it's very cool."
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