Nissan Motorsport’s James Moffat was the unexpected pace-setter today in final practice for the Castrol Gold Coast 600 at Surfers Paradise.
Moffat – who yesterday confirmed he is departing the team at the end of the season – set the chart-topping time on soft tyres late in the fourth practice session this afternoon.
“Maybe I should make announcements like that every weekend!” said Moffat.
“The car felt pretty speedy. At the end there it was good fun on the softs (tyres). Hopefully that translates for us tomorrow.”
Moffat’s time was less than one-tenth of a second faster than flying Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen in second place, who is feeling comfortable around on the brutal street circuit.
“The race is going to be interesting tomorrow, with strategies and people trying to get a lot of life out of the soft tyres.”
Van Gisbergen, who is racing in his final enduro with team boss Jonathon Webb, said he’d like to sign off with Tekno in style.
“Really looking forward to winning another surfboard or two with him,” said Van Gisbergen.
“We won here last year, so it would be pretty cool to finish off that way.”
Third place man Craig Lowndes, fresh from a massively popular Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 win, said he had a smooth day, with both he and co-driver Steve Richards confident in the car.
“We stayed out of trouble, we’re both very happy with the car, it responds the way we want it to and it’s good on both compounds (of tyres). There’s good signs for us for tomorrow,” Lowndes said.
Lowndes said that the ‘Concrete Canyon’ Surfers Paradise track offered one of his best chances to close the 399 point Championship gap to Ford flyer mark Winterbottom.
“It has certainly shown in the past to be a bit of a car crusher, but we’ve just got to make sure we get to the front in qualifying and the Top 10 Shootout, limit the chances of damage and see what happens.”
The Castrol Gold Coast 600 continues tomorrow, with qualifying in the morning before a Top 10 Shootout and 300km of racing around the 2.96km Surfers Paradise street circuit in the afternoon.