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Mostert fastest as Hill hits wall in opening Perth practice

Chaz Mostert has fired the first shot of the Bosch Power Tools Perth SuperSprint, leading Practice 1 from wire-to-wire at Raceway.

Mostert (#25 Mobil 1 Ford) powered to the top in the opening minutes of the 60-minute session with a 55.0930s, which proved more than 0.5s faster than his closest rival.

The two-time Bathurst winner’s time proved the benchmark for the rest of the session, with the session ending early following a crash for Cameron Hill (#4 Supaglass Chevrolet). A suspected suspension failure pitched Hill off at Turn 3 in the final minutes, with the session declared.

The incident prevented several drivers from green flag runs, including championship leader Will Brown (87 Red Bull Ampol Chevrolet) and Matt Payne (#19 Penrite Ford), who ended up 18th and 21st respectively.

It was the first competitive session held under the new minimum tyre pressure rule of 15psi, with Mostert’s time 0.5s down on the quickest Friday time in 2023, David Reynolds’s 54.5285s.

“The car felt pretty good out of the gate, we went pretty aggressive in the session and probably made it a lot better,” Mostert said post-session.

“We focused more on the race car towards the end of the session, and I think our race car is quite good. Tomorrow’s 20-minute session was always about focusing on qualifying for us.”

“You know what it’s like, it is only Friday practice, who knows what tyres everyone is using and vice versa, but at the moment I’m very happy with my race car.”

Just as drivers logged their first laps, Thomas Randle (#55 Castrol Ford) came to a halt around Turn 1, with the Tickford Racing driver reporting a loss of gears.

Randle’s car, which suffered a suspected propshaft failure, triggered a red flag and was retrieved, before quick repairs sent the #55 Ford back out.

As the session wore on, Mostert’s time remained handsome as drivers pushed the limits. Notably, Reynolds (#20 TRADIE Beer Chevrolet) ran off at Turn 7 and took on bucketloads of sand.

At the midway point of the session, Hill jumped to second, albeit 0.5061s down. It was a smart recovery, given Hill missed the early part of the session due to delays with telemetry.

With 30 minutes elapsed, championship leader Brown was only 16th, with teammate Broc Feeney (#88 Red Bull Ampol Chevrolet) 10th.

With 20 minutes remaining, Jack Le Brocq (#9 BIC Chevrolet) jumped to second with a 55.4257s, drawing within 0.34s to Mostert’s benchmark time. Five minutes later, Nick Percat (#10 Bendix Chevrolet) moved into second with a 55.2683s, 0.1753s down.

Andre Heimgartner (#8 R&J Batteries Chevrolet), the Saturday winner in New Zealand, jumped to third with a 55.4240s with 11 minutes to go on what was his 32nd lap of the session. Shortly afterwards, Will Davison (#17 Shell V-Power Ford) moved to fifth with a 55.5639s.

Davison was displaced by reigning champion Brodie Kostecki (#1 Erebus Chevrolet), who clocked a 55.5229s. All the while, Feeney jumped from 15th to fifth, with teammate Brown 18th and in the lane into the final five minutes. Payne, meanwhile, sat 21st.

The balance of the field — including Brown and Payne — rolled out for a final run, with James Courtney (#7 Snowy River Caravans Ford) vaulting to third with a 55.2709s.

However, drivers were unable to improve, with Hill clouting the wall and ending up stranded on the run to Turn 4.

Randle ended up 20th following his mid-session repairs, with Aaron Love (#3 CoolDrive Ford) 24th all told.

Supercars will return to the track on Saturday for the short Practice 2 at 9:15am AWST/11:15am AEST, followed by knockout Boost Mobile Qualifying at 12:00pm AWST/2:00pm AEST.