De Pasquale tops Phillip Island practice

The Mustangs are poised to roar on Phillip Island, with the Ford fleet easing through the first Supercars practice session of the weekend.

While Anton de Pasquale topped the timing charts in his Commodore, series leader Scott McLaughlin appeared relaxed and comfortable on the Island, where he holds an intimidating record.

McLaughlin has taken the last seven pole positions at the Victorian track, winning six races for both Garry Rogers Motorsport and DJR Team Penske since 2014.

The 25-year-old series leader nursed his Mustang around the circuit on Friday, leading the field for most of practice before de Pasquale took over.

The Erebus Motorsport driver’s 1:31.3181 won the day, ahead of Will Davison, Rick Kelly and McLaughlin.

Most drivers pulled their punches as they acclimatised to the notoriously challenging track.

Four Fords featured in the top seven places, with huge interest as to how the rampant Mustangs perform after having their centre of gravity altered by Supercars officials seeking improved parity.

Jamie Whincup, who endured a dire meet in Tasmania last weekend, forecast more pain for his Red Bull Holden Racing Team on Phillip Island.

“The car is similar to the test day, it’s not 100 per cent,” he said.

“We didn’t put (new) tyres on … I’m not saying we’re going to jump to the front. We have work to do.

“The car is not suited to Phillip Island. But we’ll work it out.”

The session was red flagged for five minutes as drivers contended with several Cape Barren Geese that strayed into harm’s way.

David Reynolds, who finished in 14th, summed up the mood of drivers.

“It’s a grouse track, fun to drive and as long as the geese piss off we’ll have a good day,” he said.

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