De Pasquale leads Darwin practice as reigning champ struggles
27-year old De Pasquale is looking to end a win drought that is nearing one year, his most recent Supercars victory was at Darwin last year.
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Ford's Tickford Racing showed signs of strength in Friday's Practice 2, with former Supercars champion James Courtney (No. 5 Snowy River Caravans Ford Mustang) second quickest, two-time Bathurst 1000 runner-up Cam Waters (No. 6 Monster Energy Ford Mustang) third, and sophomore Thomas Randle (No. 55 Castrol Ford Mustang) fifth.
Current championship leader Brodie Kostecki (No. 99 Coca Cola Chevrolet Camaro) split up the Ford party with the fourth quickest lap of the final practice session of the weekend.
On the other end of the time sheet, reigning Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen (No. 97 Red Bull Ampol Chevrolet Camaro) was just 25th, having faced a mysterious mechanical gremlin during the session.
Appearing unsure of the origin of Car 97's mechanical issues, van Gibergen's Triple Eight crew face an uncertain night ahead of the first race of the weekend on Saturday afternoon.
Walkinshaw Andretti United's Chaz Mostert was last on the time sheets after facing issues of his own, but the two-time Bathurst 1000 winner was just 0.68 of a second off the top spot in what is shaping up to be a fiercely competitive weekend.
The Repco Supercars Championship next hits the track at 12:00 p.m. ACST Saturday for knockout qualifying to set the grid for Race 13 of the 2023 season.
Race 13 then kicks off at 3:55 p.m, the first of three races of the weekend at the betr Darwin Triple Crown, the fifth event on the 2023 Supercars calendar.
Coverage of the betr Darwin Triple Crown can be found on Seven and Foxtel, with live streaming available on 7plus and Kayo.