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FP5: Winkelhock lowers weekend’s best in penultimate Bathurst practice

FP5: Winkelhock lowers weekend’s best in penultimate Bathurst practice

> Result: Practice 5

Audi Sport kept up its 100% practice record in Bathurst’s fifth session this morning after Markus Winkelhock set fastest time of the weekend so far.

Two red flag periods punctuated the penultimate hour-long session. The first involved the #52 Marc Cars Mustang, which clouted the wall and crabbed back to the pits, while the second – which brought FP5 to a premature end – involved Team BRM’s Audi driven by Mark Rosser who crashed at The Dipper.

The fog that accompanied the early part of the session was no hindrance to Winkelhock who lowered Kelvin van der Linde’s previous weekend best in the opening minutes before going faster again moments later.

The Audi Sport Team Valvoline entry he shares with Ricardo Feller and Yasser Shahin set a best of 2m03.1336s to finish 0.5s faster than Ben Barker’s Grove Racing Porsche, while SunEnergy1’s Jules Gounon was a fraction further back in the best of the Mercedes-AMGs. Both set their times after the initial red flag period.

Ominously, and especially so given Audi’s form thus far, Feller subsequently produced the session’s fastest second sector but couldn’t improve on his co-driver’s overall time.

David Reynolds was another to set his car’s best lap early on, as well as one of just four entries to dip below 2m04s. The C Tech Laser R8 finished four tenths clear of Triple Eight’s Mercedes-AMG and another 0.3s ahead of Coinspot’s Audi, which completed the top-six.

Craft-Bamboo’s Mercedes-AMG was a noticeable absentee after the team detected an engine issue overnight. Its engine change is not expected to be completed before qualifying.

Supabarn’s replacement Audi, which was freighted to the circuit overnight, is also unlikely to run today. It’s being converted to Evo II spec by Melbourne Performance Centre but is due to take the start tomorrow.