The stage is set for the Supercars fleet of Commodores to make up ground on Scott McLaughlin’s championship lead as racing begins in Tasmania on Saturday.
For the third time in as many practice sessions at Symmons Plains, it was Holdens on top of the timesheets on Saturday morning.
Nick Percat led home the field with a 50.6956 lap, ahead of fellow Commodore driver David Reynolds.
While the DJR Team Penske Mustangs of Fabian Coulthard and Scott McLaughlin were next best, the combination of historical form and new equalisation measures are expected to count against them this weekend.
Coulthard’s 2017 race win is the only time a Ford man has saluted in a Tasmanian race out of the last 15 opportunities.
And last week, his team was hit with a Supercars ruling that applied weight penalties to bring the Mustang back to the pack.
“It is what it is,” Coulthard said.
“That’s what’s been applied and we have got to drive what we’ve got. We’ll do the best job we can. If it’s not good enough we’ll find more speed so it is.”
Holden teams were also impacted by the ruling, having to apply a smaller weight penalty, but they remained on top of the pack at Symmons.
Tickford Racing boss Tim Edwards told News Corp he didn’t believe the Ford struggles on the Apple Isle related to the parity ruling.
“That’s exactly the same result we had last year,” she said.
“It has been a happy hunting ground for the Holdens for many years. So irrespective of the other changes to the car, we always knew this was going to be a tough event for us because it has been for the past few years.”
In Tasmania, teams will also contend with a trial of new parc ferme rules that mean cars must remain untouched between qualifying and racing.
The weather has calmed for the race. Launceston was soaked with 16 millimetres of rain overnight but Saturday’s race, from 4:40pm AEDT, is set to be dry.
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