Whincup’s team the one to beat at Bathurst

Co-driver Paul Dumbrell has maintained the dominance of Jamie Whincup’s Holden team in Thursday’s second Bathurst 1000 practice session at Mount Panorama.

After Whincup set the pace in the opening session, Dumbrell picked up where he left off in the co-drivers-only second practice stint to top the timesheets with the fastest lap of two minutes, 06.89 seconds.

Tim Slade’s Holden co-driver Ash Walsh was second fastest ahead of series leader Shane van Gisbergen’s teammate Alex Premat, also of Holden.

Four-time Bathurst winner Whincup is already looming as the man to beat.

He clocked the fastest time of the day to date – an impressive 2:05.95 during the opening session, more than half a second ahead of Ford’s Fabian Coulthard.

Whincup might have tasted Great Race success but he has not savoured victory since 2012 with Dumbrell, after being left to rue his past two Bathurst campaigns.

Whincup last year sensationally ignored team orders to pit at Bathurst and then passed a safety car, relegating him from second to the back of the field with 20 laps left to eventually finish 18th.

And in 2014, the Holden gun also defied a team directive before running out of fuel on the 161st and final lap while leading the Great Race.

The second hour-long session on Thursday featured a red flag after Volvo driver James Moffat’s co-driver James Golding clipped the wall near Reid Park.

Series defending champion Mark Winterbottom of Ford was fourth fastest in the second session.

The fortunes of defending Bathurst champ Craig Lowndes of Holden have not changed since his underwhelming opening session.

His co-driver Steven Richards was second last in the second session, ahead of the all-female team of Simona de Silvestro and Renee Gracie.

Thursday’s final practice session featuring all drivers starts at 3:15pm.

Qualifying will be held on Friday and Saturday before Sunday’s Great Race.

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