Jamie Whincup returned the #88 Red Bull Holden to the top of the order in the final session ahead of qualifying at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
Whincup’s qualifying simulation run netted a 2:05.15s, 0.24s shy of the practice record he set in the corresponding session 12 months ago.
The Red Bull ace set his time with six minutes remaining, after which Prodrive’s Mark Winterbottom and Chaz Mostert both put down their best efforts.
Winterbottom fell 0.16s short aboard The Bottle-O entry, while Mostert narrowly improved his own previous effort but could not lift himself from third.
“I think we’ll have to be in the 2:04s to get provisional pole,” noted Winterbottom.
“At the moment we’re doing the hard parts of the track fast, but down the bottom we need to tidy up a bit of instability under brakes.
“If we can improve that without losing our strengths we’ll be very strong.”
Scott McLaughlin slotted his Volvo into fourth ahead of Shane van Gisbergen and Tim Slade in a top six that was separated by just 0.25s.
Jason Bright, Fabian Coulthard, David Reynolds and Cameron Waters completed the top 10.
Craig Lowndes’ difficult weekend continued in 12th, while Michael Caruso was the fastest Nissan in 13th.
The Holden Racing Team also failed to fire with James Courtney and Garth Tander 17th and 19th respectively.
Nick Percat was 20th after escaping significant damage when he ran wide and clouted the wall at The Dipper mid-session.
The #222 Holden was inspected in the Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport garage before returning to the track and recording its 2:06.66s best.
“I lost the rear and there was nowhere to go,” recounted Percat of the incident.
“I tried to keep it off the wall but it just tagged the rear and spun it around.
“It was fortunate that it spun so I wasn’t straight in at The Dipper.
“I think the mountain has been kind to me.”
The 40 minute qualifying session will commence at 1550 local time.
Result: Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 Practice 5
|1||Red Bull Racing Australia||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||2:05.14|
|2||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||2:05.31||00.16|
|3||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||2:05.32||00.17|
|4||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Scott McLaughlin||Volvo S60||2:05.35||00.20|
|5||Red Bull Racing Australia||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore VF||2:05.39||00.24|
|6||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore VF||2:05.39||00.24|
|7||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore VF||2:05.67||00.52|
|8||DJR Team Penske||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||2:05.73||00.58|
|9||Erebus Motorsport Penrite||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore VF||2:05.94||00.79|
|10||Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||2:05.94||00.79|
|11||Team Darrell Lea STIX||Will Davison||Holden Commodore VF||2:05.95||00.80|
|12||TeamVortex||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||2:05.98||00.83|
|13||Nissan Motorsport||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||2:06.01||00.86|
|14||DJR Team Penske||Scott Pye||Ford Falcon FG/X||2:06.11||00.96|
|15||Preston Hire Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore VF||2:06.16||01.01|
|16||GB Galvanizing Racing||Dale Wood||Nissan Altima||2:06.20||01.05|
|17||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VF||2:06.30||01.15|
|18||Sengled Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||2:06.36||01.21|
|19||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF||2:06.38||01.23|
|20||Clipsal 500 Adelaide Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore VF||2:06.66||01.51|
|21||Team Cooldrive||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore VF||2:06.67||01.52|
|22||Super Black Racing||Chris Pither||Ford Falcon FG/X||2:06.77||01.62|
|23||carsales Racing||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima||2:07.13||01.98|
|24||Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Holden Commodore VF||2:07.39||02.24|
|25||Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Moffat||Volvo S60||2:07.40||02.25|
|26||Erebus Motorsport||Chris van der Drift||Holden Commodore VF||2:08.51||03.36|
|27||Harvey Norman Supergirls||Simona De Silvestro||Nissan Altima||2:08.70||03.55|