Successful Opening Day for Reeves and Sutton.

Successful Opening Day for Reeves and Sutton.

Triple Zero Motorsport finish Day 1 fourth in class, but have their eyes firmly on Sunday’s race.

20170414_093235It was a constructive day at the office for the Triple Zero Racing pair of Chris Reeves and Chris Sutton, finishing with the fourth fastest time in Class D after the opening practice sessions for Sunday’s Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour.

Reeves, the defending Class D winner, has a new co-driver for 2017 in Chris Sutton, who comes on board following Mark Caine’s move to Shockwave Signs Motorsport, where he’ll race with Jimmy Vernon this weekend.

Chris Sutton’s motor racing history has mostly been on two-wheels, but he’s a convert now, making his Mountain debut this weekend.

20170414_085406While he has competed in Supersprints in the past, opening practice was his first chance to lap the entire 6.213km circuit at race speed.

Sadly for Reeves, opening practice proved to be frustrating. In his words, he “couldn’t get a lap in”, with 65 cars taking to the track for practice, it was a busier track than usual, which made it difficult for much of the field to get a clean run around Mount Panorama.

After a stoppage to retrieve the stranded Mercedes of Garth Walden and Craig Baird, Reeves returned to the circuit, but was back on pit-road soon after, to hand the car over to Sutton.

After a few laps, Sutton had settled in, having reacquainted himself with the car, which he drove in December’s West End Performance Winton Double Crown, and familiarised himself with the circuit.

20170414_085417Upon arrival back in pit-lane, he had clocked the car’s fastest lap of the session – a 2:47.974, which gave the pair 56th outright and 9th in Class D.

When asked about his first on-track experience at the Hi-Tec Oils 6 Hour, Sutton simply said “That was different!”.

As you would imagine, he was still trying to get his head around the whole setup – “new car, new track, new everything”, but was confident that the car would have the pace to run with the front running cars in the class come Sunday’s Race.

Like Reeves, Sutton had his fair share of issues with traffic – saying he spent just as much time looking through the windscreen as he did the rear-vision mirror, being weary of the quicker cars coming through, such as the Mercedes’, Mitsubishi’s and BMW’s.

20170413_134550Practice 2 proved much more positive for the Triple Zero Racing machine, as they moved up to 4th in class, and 45th outright.

Reeves took to the circuit first, and managed to clock a very respectable 2:43.495. – finally finding some clear space on the very congested track.

Almost a third of the session was lost when the session was stopped, due to the Mitsubishi Evo of Aaron McGill finding the wall in the dipper.
Upon resumption, Chris Sutton jumped back behind the wheel, and throughout his 20-minute run, was able to improve on his previous lap time by seven-tenths of a second.

After the session, Sutton said he didn’t think the track time lost, due to the stoppages, had affected his race preparation. He used the time sitting on pit-road to think of race lines, braking markers and passing opportunities, and said the only downside of sitting there was that it was getting quite hot inside the cockpit.

The Shockwave Signs Motorsport entry of Jimmy Vernon and Mark Caine remains the car to catch in Class D. They were fastest on Day 1, with a 2:42.013.

When asked after Practice which of the Class D competitors posed a threat to his chances of going back-to-back in Class D, Reeves simply said “Everyone in Class D.”

2017 Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour | Friday Practice
Triple Zero Racing | Toyota 86 GTS | Class D #3. Chris Reeves/Chris Sutton
Session Outright Position Class Position Chris Reeves Chris Sutton
Practice 1 56th 9th 2:53.209 2:47.974
Practice 2 45th 4th 2:43.495 2:47.267

2017 Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour | Practice 1 | Class D Result

Outright In Class Number Drivers Car Time
39th 1st 37 Jimmy Vernon/Mark Caine Toyota 86 GTS 2:42.013
45th 2nd 49 Trent Grubel/David Crowe Toyota 86 GTS 2:44.719
47th 3rd 47 David Baker/Matthew Windsor Honda Integra 2:45.266
49th 4th 50 Trevor Keene/James Keene/Dominic Martens Mini Cooper 2:46.557
50th 5th 52 Graeme Heath/Joshua Heath Toyota 86 GTS 2:46.962
51st 6th 98 Daniel Williams/Kurt Metcalf/Daniel Sugden Toyota Camry 2:47.025
52nd 7th 86 Grant Phillips/Michele Abbate Toyota 86 GTS 2:47.250
54th 8th 39 David Bailey/Matt Thewlis Toyota 86 GTS 2:47.442
56th 9th 3 Chris Reeves/Chris Sutton Toyota 86 GTS 2:47.974
59th 10th 85 Declan Kirkham/Philip Kirkham/Aaron Cameron Mazda MX6 2:53.584
60th 11th 33 Peter Foote/Will Cauchi Nissan Pulsar 2:54.832
61st 12th 55 Michael Hopp/Peter Sortwell/Steven Pittman Eunos 30X 3:04.492
NC NC 9 Chris Manley/Lachlan Deagle/Duncan Harrison Toyota 86 GTS No Time

2017 Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour | Practice 2 | Class D Result

Outright In Class Number Drivers Car Time
37th 1st 37 Jimmy Vernon/Mark Caine Toyota 86 GTS 2:42.567
40th 2nd 52 Graeme Heath/Joshua Heath Toyota 86 GTS 2:43.067
42nd 3rd 49 Trent Grubel/David Crowe Toyota 86 GTS 2:43.267
45th 4th 3 Chris Reeves/Chris Sutton Toyota 86 GTS 2:43.495
48th 5th 47 David Baker/Matthew Windsor Honda Integra 2:45.361
49th 6th 50 Trevor Keene/James Keene/Dominic Martens Mini Cooper 2:45.585
50th 7th 39 David Bailey/Matt Thewlis Toyota 86 GTS 2:45.762
53rd 8th 86 Grant Phillips/Michele Abbate Toyota 86 GTS 2:47.183
55th 9th 85 Declan Kirkham/Philip Kirkham/Aaron Cameron Mazda MX6 2:48.365
57th 10th 98 Daniel Williams/Kurt Metcalf/Daniel Sugden Toyota Camry 2:50.075
60th 11th 33 Peter Foote/Will Cauchi Nissan Pulsar 2:55.430
61st 12th 55 Michael Hopp/Peter Sortwell/Steven Pittman Eunos 30X 2:59.727
NC NC 9 Chris Manley/Lachlan Deagle/Duncan Harrison Toyota 86 GTS No Time

Reeves is quietly confident that they’ve got a bit up their sleeve for qualifying tomorow, and will approach the race the same way he did in 2016, by letting everyone go at the start, as this is not a race won in the first hour – it can certainly be lost in the first hour, and that plan worked for them last year, when Reeves and Mark Caine secured 10th outright, and the class win.

20170414_090407Further adding to the traffic discussion; when speaking about working around the difficulty of having faster cars coming through to pass them, while they’re also passing cars slower than themselves, Reeves had this to say.

“When you’re in a class car, it’s really important to have a plan to let the faster cars through. They’re going to come past, you know it. The trick to it is, seeing them coming, know where they’re going to find you, having a plan to let them pass, get the transaction done quickly, and get on with the job of driving, but you can’t be looking in the rear-vision mirror all the time, or it’s not going to work out well.”

The 2017 Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour continues tomorrow morning with Practice 3 at 7:40am AEST, before Qualifying tomorrow afternoon. Reeves and Sutton will complete their qualifying run in the Bottom 50% session at 12:50pm AEST.

The full schedule is below, and you can follow LIVE timing throughout the weekend, via the Bathurst 6 Hour website.

Event Schedule
Saturday 7:40am Practice 3 40 Minutes
Saturday 12:50pm Qualifying [Bottom 50%] 30 Minutes
Saturday 1:30pm Qualifying [Top 50%] 30 Minutes
Sunday 8:10am Warm-up 20 Minutes
Sunday 11:30am AEST 2017 Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour 6 Hours + 1 Lap

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