Eurasia has topped the first Free Practice session at The Bend, with Shane Van Gisbergen leading the field by 1.7 seconds in the #1 Ligier JSP2-17.
His 2:36.496 was the fastest time of the day, eclipsing the 2:37.514 set by teammate Nick Cassidy earlier in the session. Second in the classification was the #45 Thunderhead Carlin Racing Dallara, Ben Barnicoat setting a 2:38.213. The top 4 cars managed times under the 2:40 second barrier, compared to just two in the pre-event test.
The 90-minute session started in damp but drying conditions after the earlier rain cleared. An early red flag interrupted proceedings; the #72 T2 Motorsports Ferrari with Rio Haryanto at the wheel beached in the Turn 33 gravel trap after spinning the wheels in the damp conditions. Once extracted, the car returned to the pits under its own power.
RLR MSport went quickest in LMP2-Am, as Arjun Maini set a 2:46.312 halfway through the session. The LMP3 class was topped by ACE1 Villorba Corse in their #12 Ligier JS P3, after a string of quick laps from David Fumanelli late in the session, ending on a 2:54.777.
The early pace in GT was set by Pier Guidi in the #51 Spirit of Race Ferrari, before being bettered by Come Ledogar in the #7 Car Guy Racing Ferrari, then Marcos Gomes in the #27 Hub Auto Corse Ferrari, who set a 3:01.388.
The top time in GT though, came right at the very end of the session, with Andre Couto in the #88 JLOC Lamborghini setting a 2:59.913 with seven minutes remaining, being the only GT driver to dip under 3 minutes.
The session was cut short due to an off for the #14 Inter Europol Competition P3 car, at the hands of Garth Walden. The car ground to a halt at Turn 17 with a fuel pressure problem. A Full-Course-Yellow was called with four minutes remaining, effectively ending the session early.
The only car to not manage a timed lap in the session was the #16 Astro Veloce Motorsports BMW, still suffering from electrical gremlins. The team is currently waiting on a replacement ECU. Importantly, Nielsen Racing managed to get their replacement #3 Norma M30 on track with 20 minutes remaining, while the #34 EuroInternational Ligier JSP2-17 waited until the last 10 minutes to turn laps.
Free Practice 2 starts at 9:30 am Local Time (Australian Central Daylight Savings Time) Saturday, with qualifying tomorrow afternoon.