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MEDIA RELEASE/Australian S5000 Championship – Photos: James Smith

A first-lap spin did not stop Tim Macrow extending his run at the top of the S5000 field at Sandown Park, as former F1 racer Rubens Barrichello started to hunt him down.

Macrow trimmed the benchmark time to 1 minute 6.4195 seconds during the second practice session, while Barrichello improved from seventh to second at 1:06.9593, with John Martin in third on 1:07.0014.

There were a couple of dramas with spins, on a track that was slippery in places, and many of the drivers stopped for a tune-up when the session was stopped briefly when Michael Gibson ran off the road.

Even Macrow, who has the most experience in the V8-powered single-seaters, gave in to temptation.

“I wanted to see how far I could push it. And I went a bit too far,” laughs Macrow.

“I spun. On the first lap.”

“I wanted to see how far I could push it. And I went a bit too far,” laughs Macrow. Photo: James Smith

But he, like everyone at Sandown, is intent on making a good first impression and improving through the “There is a little more in it. We’re leaving a bit in the bank,” he says.

“It was pretty slippery out there and you have to work up to it.”

Barrichello could not stop smiling and admits he is still learning the bumps and high-speed corners at Sandown.

“The car felt much better in P2. I got quicker, so that’s good,” he says.

“In the first session the car was definitely taking me around, and in the second session I was taking more control. And the smile comes to my face. It’s a great feeling to be able to conquer the world.”

For Martin, who is doing double-duty in the TCR Australia Series, the speed came later in the day as he tweaked his car.

“No-one needs to be a hero today,” Martin says.

“In the first session we struggled a little bit, but we reversed a few things. There is more room in it everywhere.

“But it’s about feeling it out, and hopefully it is dry tomorrow and we can take it from there.”


Tim Macrow created a piece of history when he topped the first official practice session for Australia’s thundering new S5000 category at Sandown Park.

Former grand prix star Rubens Barrichello led 13 freshly-finished cars into action in the first against-the-clock hit-out for the class, ahead of races at Sandown tomorrow and Sunday.

Macrow used his test driving experience in the V8-powered single-seater to finish ahead of young gun Will Brown, with Supercars regular James Golding in third and Barrichello in sixth.

Macrow’s fastest time was 1 minute 06.7447 seconds, significantly quicker than the 1:09.0987 set by Chaz Mostert when he set the Supercars benchmark in 2017 in a Ford Falcon.

“It’s really good to get off to that start. I was probably being a bit conservative. There is definitely more to come,” says Macrow.

“No massive surprises, but it’s a handful when the rear tyres are cold.”

For Brown, who is doing double duty in S5000 and the TCR Australian Series, the contrast between a front-wheel drive turbo hatchback and the roaring rear-drive S5000 was a shock.

“It definitely gets your attention. I had a ball. I thought I would be shitting myself, but I had a ball,” says Brown.

He was one of the drivers who explored the limits, sliding off at one point but causing no damage to his car.

“I ran off the road but I didn’t hit anything,” he says.

Barrichello was having his first look at Sandown after a first-up shake-down at Phillip Island and was quickly into an engineering debrief with his crew to find more speed.

“The grip level is so low here, compared to Phillip Island. And it’s a bit bumpier. There was only 20 minutes to learn the track,” says Barrichello.

He is expecting more speed through the Sandown weekend and taking no chances.

“I’m being cautious and learning my way. You have to pay attention.

“But I’m always happy when I have a steering wheel in my hands.”

Behind the top three, John Martin – who is also doing double duty with his TCR Honda – was fourth on 1:07.6645, with third-generation racer Matt Brabham next on 1:07.6951 and Barrichello on 1:08.0967.


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