DYLAN O’KEEFFE has topped fast Friday for the second round of the Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia Championship as the series returns to Hidden Valley Raceway in Darwin.
The Dexion / RAM Motorsport / GWR driver set a 1m06.8290s flyer late in the second practice session today to top an incredibly competitive grid that saw the top 20 quickest cars covered by just over 0.9 seconds.
Adrian Flack, the leader in the SP Tools Pro-Am class after one round, topped the Pro-Am runners in practice and ended the day an outstanding 14th outright – and a full 0.5 seconds quicker than his nearest class rival.
Today’s pair of 25-minute sessions set the tone for qualifying and the first of three races that will be held tomorrow.
A host of contenders put new tyres on at the end of the second session with milestone man Dale Wood, who makes his 100th race start later this weekend, jumping to second late in practice two, just 0.008s behind O’Keeffe in the battle of the Equity-One Pro’s.
Round 1 winner Jackson Walls was third and first Michelin Junior driver with David Wall fourth and Hidden Valley lap record holder Christian Pancione fifth.
Alex Davison was next and followed closely by Fabian Coulthard, who was straight on the pace on his long-anticipated series return for BWT Porsche Centre Melbourne Motorsport.
Coulthard was in the top five in practice one and continued that form later in the day.
Bayley Hall topped the second session for a time before ending it in eighth position with Chris Pither and Callum Hedge completing the top-10.
The competitive diversity in the grid was shown with six different teams represented in the top-10.
Earlier in the day, David Wall topped practice one ahead of Nick McBride and Max Vidau, with Coulthard and Hedge next.
While Flack topped the Pro-am runners, practice two saw Sam Shahin second and Dean Cook third in the SP Tools-backed class.
Typically hot conditions at Hidden Valley saw several drivers trip up today as the circuit conditions changed throughout the day.
Moutai-backed Wall Racing driver Luke King had an off in turn one, making light contact with the tyres at Turn 10 before returning to the circuit after quick work from his team.
Christian Pancione then had a left-rear puncture on his Supercheap Auto car in practice two, while Matt Belford’s left front was also punctured following a trip off the road at turn one.
Braking for the tricky first corner was a notable challenge for everyone throughout the day.
Saturday will see the field qualify for the TAG Heuer Pole Award in the morning, with the SP Tools Pro-Am contenders to run first, followed by the Equity One Pro contenders.
The first of three races will be held in the afternoon, with both sessions to be shown live on Fox Sports, Kayo Sports and Sky Sports NZ.
Race 1 will also be shown on the Seven Network around Australia.