Fabian Coulthard eclipsed his own lap record to edge out Prodrive’s highly fancied Fords for the top spot in Thursday practice at Bathurst.
The Kiwi recorded a 2:05.48s with 60 seconds of the 45 minute session remaining, shaving 0.13s from his previous record time set in qualifying last year.
Mark Winterbottom spent much of the session at the top of the order before being shuffled back amid a late flurry of fast times.
The championship leader responded on his final lap but fell just 0.1s shy of the Brad Jones Racing Holden.
“I could tell by the first practice that it was going to be a pretty quick day,” said Coulthard.
“I thought someone would break the record and I’m just glad it’s me that did it.
“We were struggling a little bit but we put some tyres on and there you go. I’m pretty happy.
“It’s a great feeling, it does everything you expect of it,” he added of the speed.
“It was three and a half seconds better than whatever my (dashboard) reference lap was, so it’s hard to know where you are on the track.”
David Reynolds and Chaz Mostert underlined Prodrive’s competitive form with third and fourth respectively.
Shane van Gisbergen made it five drivers in the 2:05s as he was among the late improvers aboard the Tekno Holden.
Craig Lowndes ended a quiet day for Red Bull in sixth ahead of James Moffat, Jason Bright, Garth Tander and Michael Caruso.
Lowndes’ team-mate Jamie Whincup ended up 15th among a midfield that saw just 0.5s separate sixth from 17th.
“Some people have been hoarding tyres to get here and we haven’t,” said Red Bull team owner Roland Dane.
“At the moment we’re just playing with fuel economy and things like that.”
The day’s final session ran green for its duration, with 26 cars on track as Nissan Motorsport continued repairs following David Russell’s crash in the prior session.
Simona de Silvestro lifted the Supergirls wildcard from the bottom of the order, improving 2.5s from her Practice 1 best to record a 2:09.17s.
Practice for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 continues tomorrow ahead of the afternoon’s qualifying session.
Result: V8 Supercars Practice 3, Mount Panorama
|1||Freightliner Racing||Fabian Coulthard||Holden Commodore VF||2:05.4786R|
|2||Pepsi Max Crew||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||2:05.5784r||00.0998|
|3||The Bottle-O Racing Team||David Reynolds||Ford Falcon FG/X||2:05.7315||00.2529|
|4||Pepsi Max Crew||C.Mostert/C.Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||2:05.7322||00.2536|
|5||Team Darrell Lea STIX||S.Van Gisbergen/J.Webb||Holden Commodore VF||2:05.8680||00.3894|
|6||Red Bull Racing Australia||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore VF||2:06.1979||00.7193|
|7||Nissan Motorsport||James Moffat||Nissan Altima||2:06.2229||00.7443|
|8||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Holden Commodore VF||2:06.3127||00.8341|
|9||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore VF||2:06.3905||00.9119|
|10||Nissan Motorsport||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||2:06.4200||00.9414|
|11||Super Black Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Ford Falcon FG/X||2:06.5386||01.0600|
|12||DJR Team Penske||Scott Pye||Ford Falcon FG/X||2:06.5703||01.0917|
|13||Wilson Security Racing GRM||Scott McLaughlin||Volvo S60||2:06.5855||01.1069|
|14||GB Galvanizing Racing||Dale Wood||Holden Commodore VF||2:06.6357||01.1571|
|15||Red Bull Racing Australia||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore VF||2:06.6802||01.2016|
|16||Holden Racing Team||J.Perkins/R.Ingall||Holden Commodore VF||2:06.7006||01.2220|
|17||Nissan Motorsport||Todd Kelly||Nissan Altima||2:06.7015||01.2229|
|18||Supercheap Auto Racing||T.Slade/T.D’Alberto||Holden Commodore VF||2:06.9227||01.4441|
|19||Repair Management Aust Racing||N.Percat/O.Gavin||Holden Commodore VF||2:07.1545||01.6759|
|20||Erebus Motorsport V8||Will Davison||Mercedes E63 AMG||2:07.2622||01.7836|
|21||Walkinshaw Racing||L.Holdsworth/S.Bourdais||Holden Commodore VF||2:07.3254||01.8468|
|22||Team Cooldrive||T.Blanchard/K.Reindler||Holden Commodore VF||2:07.8057||02.3271|
|23||Wilson Security Racing GRM||D.Wall/C.Pither||Volvo S60||2:07.9912||02.5126|
|24||Erebus Motorsport V8||A.Walsh/J.Le Brocq||Mercedes E63 AMG||2:07.9914||02.5128|
|25||Harvey Norman Supergirls||S.De Silvestro/R.Gracie||Ford Falcon FG/X||2:09.1675||03.6889|
|26||Plus Fitness / Go Karts Go||A.Russell/D.Russell||Holden Commodore VF||2:09.1887||03.7101|