Foreigners fine tune for Gold Coast test

TALKING TACTICS: The Rod Nash Racing Ford Falcon team of David Reynolds and Nick Heidfeld discus strategy during a Gold Coast 600 practice session.
TALKING TACTICS: The Rod Nash Racing Ford Falcon team of David Reynolds and Nick Heidfeld discus strategy during a Gold Coast 600 practice session. AAP Images

WORLD Endurance Championship star Darren Turner made it five podiums in succession when he piloted his Aston Martin Vantage GTE to third place in the Fuji 6 Hour Sportscar race in Japan last week.

This weekend he is keen to keep that podium run going when he joins 2010 V8 Supercar champion James Courtney at the Gold Coast 600.

Turner, who will be one of 28 international drivers at the event, also competed at Surfers Paradise last year, but under less than ideal circumstances.

He was called up at the last minute to replace IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon who was tragically killed just days earlier in a race in Las Vegas.

The Englishman said the experience of last year, plus Wednesday's test day, would help him overcome the clear advantage Australian V8 Supercar drivers enjoyed over the visitors. "I know what to expect from last year so I don't have to re-learn the cars, the co-drivers, the team and the like, that makes it much easier," Turner said.

All the visiting drivers will have another chance to familiarise themselves with the circuit today with four practice sessions scheduled.

The Top 10 Shootout will be held tomorrow, followed by race one of the Gold Coast 600 and another qualifying session to determine the starting order for race two on Sunday.

Ford driver Will Davison showed he was keen to make up for his bad luck at Bathurst, setting the pace in practice on Wednesday with co-driver Mika Salo.

But the man everyone has to beat is Bathurst winner and 2012 V8 Supercars series leader Jamie Whincup.

He will share the duties with Sebastien Bourdais this weekend, the pair taking out the Saturday race on the Gold Coast last year.

They could only manage the eighth-fastest time on Wednesday, but Whincup said he was confident of a strong showing come race time.

"Like everyone else, I love the Gold Coast event, especially being my home race. Having Sebastien in my corner again is a massive plus," he said.

"I can't stress enough that although we have had a great run in the past, it doesn't guarantee anything this weekend so we really need to use the momentum and team morale from Bathurst and put it into motion this weekend."

Topics:  gold coast 600 james courtney

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