A last-gasp effort from Scott McLaughlin denied reigning Ipswich race winner Chaz Mostert the perfect start to the 2014 Coates Hire Ipswich 400.
Mostert, who had finished fourth and third in the opening two practice sessions, sat second to Shane van Gisbergen for much of the final 20 minute hit-out.
The Ford Performance Racing driver then appeared to make the most of the final flurry of green tyre runs, bumping team-mate Mark Winterbottom from the top with less than two minutes remaining.
McLaughlin, however, put down the day’s best time of 1:09.73s after the chequered flag fell to eclipse his rival by 0.04s.
The Volvo driver later admitted relief at his Practice 3 effort, having been just 11th and 15th in the opening two sessions.
“We were a bit worried earlier on this morning and this afternoon because the car wasn’t quite as good but luckily it was just tyres,” he said.
“We bolted some new boots on at the end and it was pretty hooked.”
Final practice again featured windy conditions, pushing the cars around considerably at Turns 1 and 5.
“The crosswind was quite weird,” added McLaughlin.
“It was something I haven’t experienced here before but I haven’t been here as long as Russell Ingall!
“You have to adapt your driving style to it.”
Mostert, who was a guest driver at Dick Johnson Racing’s recent pre-Ipswich test, was also happy with his day.
“Our car is pretty dialled in, we are pretty happy with it, running consistent practice sessions in the top five,” he said.
“This track has been pretty good to me and Scotty. It’s fantastic to have the DVS crew (2012 Dunlop Series graduates) up here.”
Nick Percat, another rival to McLaughlin and Mostert in the 2012 Dunlop Series, also briefly topped the times during the closing stages before ending up an encouraging third.
Van Gisbergen improved his earlier time in the closing stages to end up fourth ahead of Russell Ingall, Mark Winterbottom, Will Davison, Jamie Whincup, James Courtney and Fabian Coulthard.
Craig Lowndes ended a quiet day for Red Bull Racing Australia in 11th, albeit just 0.26s from the ultimate pace.
Half a second split McLaughlin and his 22nd-placed team-mate Robert Dahlgren, while Tim Slade, Todd Kelly and Dale Wood completed the order.
Wood’s session included a trip through the Turn 3 gravel trip, from which he was able to emerge without causing a red flag.
The V8 Supercars will return to the circuit for back-to-back 10 minute qualifying sessions from 1125 tomorrow.
Result: V8 Supercars Practice 3
|1||Valvoline Racing GRM||Scott McLaughlin||Volvo S60||1:09.72|
|2||Ford Pepsi Max Crew||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG||1:09.76||00.03|
|3||Walkinshaw Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore VF||1:09.81||00.08|
|4||Team Tekno VIP Petfoods||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore VF||1:09.83||00.10|
|5||Repair Management Australia Racing||Russell Ingall||Holden Commodore VF||1:09.87||00.15|
|6||Ford Pepsi Max Crew||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG||1:09.89||00.16|
|7||Erebus Motorsport V8||Will Davison||Mercedes E63 AMG||1:09.90||00.17|
|8||Red Bull Racing Australia||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||1:09.91||00.19|
|9||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Holden Commodore VF||1:09.92||00.20|
|10||Lockwood Racing||Fabian Coulthard||Holden Commodore VF||1:09.97||00.24|
|11||Red Bull Racing Australia||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||1:09.99||00.26|
|12||Norton Hornets||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||1:10.03||00.31|
|13||The Bottle-O Racing Team||David Reynolds||Ford Falcon FG||1:10.03||00.31|
|14||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore VF||1:10.06||00.34|
|15||Erebus Motorsport V8||Lee Holdsworth||Mercedes E63 AMG||1:10.06||00.34|
|16||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF||1:10.10||00.38|
|17||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:10.11||00.38|
|18||Team JELD-WEN||Jack Perkins||Ford Falcon FG||1:10.13||00.41|
|19||Norton Hornets||James Moffat||Nissan Altima||1:10.16||00.44|
|20||Wilson Security Racing||David Wall||Ford Falcon FG||1:10.18||00.45|
|21||Wilson Security Racing||Scott Pye||Ford Falcon FG||1:10.20||00.47|
|22||Valvoline Racing GRM||Robert Dahlgren||Volvo S60||1:10.22||00.50|
|23||Supercheap Auto Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore VF||1:10.42||00.69|
|24||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:10.49||00.77|
|25||Team Advam/GB||Dale Wood||Holden Commodore VF||1:10.70||00.98|