Ford Performance Racing has ended practice for the Sucrogen Townsville 400 on top of the timesheets after David Reynolds took top spot in the final session.
Warm, sunny conditions greeted drivers on the opening day of action in North Queensland though the Reid Park street track didn't yield fast times until late in the day.
Will Davison was a little further back in 11th after using used tyres throughout the day, while Mark Winterbottom was only 23rd after a limited supply of older used tyres prevented him from showing his true pace.
Despite the slower than normal times the championship contenders were happy with the balance of their factory Fords.
Earlier in the day the team's trio of endurance drivers took part in the opening two 30-minute sessions.
Steve Richards (Winterbottom), John McIntyre (Davison) and Dean Canto (Reynolds) all gained valuable additional laps ahead of the September and October endurance events while also performing baseline set-up work using old tyres.
DUNLOP SERIES PRACTICE WRAP
Chaz Mostert finished practice with the second fastest time on a far from ideal day for the championship leader. Mostert just missed top spot in the afternoon though the crew was forced to make repairs to the #56 after a brush with the wall in opening practice. Despite the damage the car was repaired quickly and with a lap just shy of top spot, Mostert proved he will again be among the contenders for outright honours.
Mark Winterbottom – #5 Orrcon Steel FPR Ford
Practice 1: 1m14.49s - 3rd (Richards)
Practice 2: 1m14.98s - 9th (Richards)
Practice 3: 1m14.20s - 18th
Practice 4: 1m13.88s - 23rd
"We didn't quite have the tyres we thought we would for today so our times were not what they should've been. We used an extra set of softs and they weren't as good as we thought they would be so we lacked grip throughout. The car handles well and is balanced so we know when we put new tyres on we will be up there. Dave's time is a good thing as it shows that with the right tyres we are quick. We'll have all the right tyres tomorrow so I have no doubt we'll be able to prove ourselves when it counts."
Will Davison – #6 Tradingpost FPR Ford
Practice 1: 1m15.75s - 20th (McIntyre)
Practice 2: 1m15.14s - 13th (McIntyre)
Practice 3: 1m13.91s - 9th
Practice 4: 1m13.47s - 11th
"It is disappointing to be 11th but I am not concerned. On Friday we all have a limited tyre bank so the times are not necessarily indicative of where we truly sit. I am pretty happy with the car balance and it feels very good - it just lacks grip but that is the tyres. Dave was obviously fast on the right tyres so we know we will be right up there tomorrow."
David Reynolds – #55 The Bottle-O FPR Ford
Practice 1: 1m15.43s - 15th (Canto)
Practice 2: 1m15.49s - 17th (Canto)
Practice 3: 1m13.75s - 4th
Practice 4: 1m12.83s - 1st
"The lap I did to get first wasn't that great so with new tyres in qualifying we will be much faster tomorrow. Over one lap we have great pace but in recent times we haven't quite had the pace in the races so we are working really hard to work on having the same pace in the race. I need to work on a few things too but we have started in the right way."
Tim Edwards - FPR Team Principal
"Today was one of the more routine days we've had in recent times. We ran our enduro drivers this morning and they had no troubles, while in the afternoon we didn't use our best tyres so worked on general set-up. All three cars were balanced well and Dave showed on a better set of tyres the car has the pace."
Chaz Mostert – #56 FPR Ford
"It's nice to be in sunny Townsville though the day didn't start great as I was struggling with snap oversteer. I ran wide on one of my laps and put it into the concrete wall which is never a good thing as there was only a couple of hours between sessions. To their credit the crew put it all back together and the car was like new for practice two. We struggled early in that session though made some set-up changes and tyre changes to sort the balance and we immediately went second-fastest. That gives us confidence tomorrow and we can sleep easily."