PORSCHE Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia title contender David Wall has fired the first shot of the weekend at the NTI Townsville 500, setting the fastest ever lap of the 2.86km Reid Park street circuit to top an intense day of practice today.
Wall’s 1m13.5641s best saw him top the times mid-way through the second of two, 25-minute practice sessions today aboard his Monochrome / Paynter Dixon Wall Racing 992 GT3 Cup Car.
Another former champion topped the Morris Pro-Am contenders, Liam Talbot continuing his momentum to top the Carrera Cup ‘race within a race’ with a flying 1m14.1740s best in the second session – quick enough to put him 16th overall in the record 32-car field.
Wall, who sits second in the championship, ultimately topped both practice sessions today with the returning Aaron Love second in both.
Love, driving a Bob Jane T-Marts Sonic Motor Racing entry, was two-tenths behind Wall in practice one however closed the margin to just 0.0178s in practice two.
Wall’s flyer was fractionally quicker than the Townsville street circuit qualifying record, set by Roger Lago en-route to his remarkable outright pole position in 2019.
Christian Pancione was a fast third overall while his fellow McElrea Racing Michelin Junior, Bayley Hall, had his best ever Carrera Cup session – finishing fourth outright but topping the leaderboard for some time throughout the session.
Luke Youlden was fifth, Dylan O’Keeffe sixth and Darwin winner Dale Wood seventh, with Callum Hedge, championship leader Harri Jones and Ryan Suhle completing the top 10 overall today – the group of ten drivers from six different teams covered by just 0.44s.
Exactly one second covered the top 21 cars in practice two as the field builds towards qualifying tomorrow.
Talbot was quickest overall in the Morris Pro-Am battle today however the times were tight between all the key contenders in the class.
Geoff Emery topped the opening practice session by just 0.0033s, with championship leader Sam Shahin just behind and Talbot third.
Talbot’s flyer in the second session saw him comfortably top the class in practice two – and overall in Morris Pro-Am – with Emery 0.5s behind in second and Shahin third.
The field will now be split in two for qualifying on Saturday morning, the MORRIS Pro-Am runners running first at 8:25am before the Pro class cars run in a separate, 10-minute session at 8:40.
The first race of the weekend will be contested over 17 laps at 12:45pm local time and will be broadcast live on Fox Sports, Channel 7 and Kayo Sports on Saturday afternoon.
David Wall – fastest in Pro / outright
“It’s good there’s only one tenth between the top five, it’s what Carrera Cup racing’s all about. I’m really more than happy with our day to be honest, we’ve learnt a fair bit today only because we haven’t been to a street circuit so far. I’m enjoying driving the car and it’s been a good weekend up here in the sun, we’ll see what we can do in qualifying, the top ten will be right at the pointy end tomorrow, so we’ll see how we go.
“I don’t think the traffic will be too bad tomorrow as we have the split qualifying, which I’m in two minds about, as it showed in that session we could make it work with one session. But the idea is to give everyone a clear run, including the Pro-Am guys. 10 Minutes is pretty short considering its from when you leave the dummy grid, but overall the whole meeting has been pretty good and I’m really enjoying driving the car.”
Liam Talbot – Morris Pro-Am
“At one point in the session I had a purple middle sector and would have been faster if I didn’t have traffic. I was just trying to find a gap, it was a good time, but is still not representative of the lap we could have got, but I’m just enjoying it up here in Townsville.
“It’s just practice though, it all really starts again qualifying tomorrow, which will be colder, so to have the split session is great, we start at the front and get a clear track, I can’t wait.”