Jamie Whincup might finally have shown signs of ending his weekend of woe at Symmons Plains.
The seven-time Supercars champion has struggled to keep his Commodore on the circuit and spent more of Sunday’s practice session in the garage than on the track.
Braking issues plagued Whincup on Saturday, when the legendary competitor slipped up in qualifying and the race before he finished last.
With Whincup out of the equation, Scott McLaughlin earned his first race win in Tasmania, leading home a DJR Team Penske one-two with Fabian Coulthard.
The Mustang pair finished in the top three of Sunday’s practice run and will be warm favourites to continue Ford’s 100 per cent winning record in Sunday’s race at 2pm.
Whincup finally showed pace, finishing ninth in practice to ensure he can bypass the first section of qualifying as one of the top 10 drivers.
Whincup’s battles are in stark contrast to his imperious record in Tasmania.
He has 12 race wins at Symmons Plains, nine more than any driver in the field.
Without improvement in Sunday’s race, Whincup will drop further back in the title equation.
He arrived in Tasmania second to McLaughlin, just 39 points behind, but has already slipped to fourth, 151 points back.
In an action-packed practice session, Anton de Pasquale wowed the crowd with a spin and slide down the main straight without major damage.
“I can’t go round the last corner, the thing goes sideways,” he said.
“I could have got collected by a few cars but everyone did a good job.”
Teammate David Reynolds, who finished fifth, cheered the 23-year-old’s effort.
“Young junior has had a big slide and he didn’t hit the fence, so he’s done a good job,” Reynolds said.
Saturday pole sitter Mark Winterbottom showed his pace once more, fourth in Sunday’s practice.
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