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Day One Recap: Darwin Triple Crown

In the heart of the Northern Territory, Round 5 of the Repco Supercars Championship, the Darwin Triple Crown, kicked off at the 2.87 km Hidden Valley Raceway circuit. With 14 corners and a 1.1km straight, this track is engineered to push drivers to achieve top speeds in the shortest time possible.

Practice began on a positive note as the pit exit opened at 11:35 local time. Matt Payne, behind the wheel of the #19 Penrite Mustang, quickly claimed the top spot with a lap time of 1:06.6282s. However, as the session progressed, Payne settled for P8, while Richie Stanaway, driving the #26 Penrite Mustang, faced speed issues after adjustments to handle the heat on super soft tires, ultimately finishing P19.

As qualifying approached, expectations were high for Penrite Racing. Despite Payne’s strong start once again, challenges emerged, impacting his ability to keep up with the top contenders. With just a 15-minute window for qualifying, tensions heightened, and a late obstacle thwarted Payne’s chance for a final push. Stanaway also showed flashes of speed but struggled to maintain it for a full lap, resulting in both drivers missing out on the top 10 shootout and now start from Row 7 in the upcoming Race 11. Payne secured P13, while Stanaway earned P14 on the grid.

Reflecting on the day’s events, Stanaway acknowledged the team’s need for adjustments, stating, “We did a lot of tweaks between the first two sets of tires but unfortunately missed a bit of speed, so we’ve got a lot of work tonight to tune it up for tomorrow.” Payne echoed similar sentiments, expressing disappointment over traffic during his final lap but remained optimistic about the team’s resolve to improve overnight.

To watch Matt Payne’s post-qualifying wrap-up, click here.

To watch Richie Stanaway’s post-qualifying wrap-up, click here.

Looking ahead, track action will commence tomorrow with Practice 2 at 9:35am ACST/10:05am AEST, before the Boost Mobile Top Ten Shootout at 11:35am ACST/12:05pm AEST. The first race of the weekend, the 48-lap Race 11, will get underway at 3:10pm ACST/3:40pm AEST. Fans worldwide can catch all the action live on Seven, Foxtel, 7plus, Kayo, and Superview.