Nick Percat has set the fastest lap in the final practice session for the OTR SuperSprint at The Bend Motorsport Park.
The South Australian ended up a little over two tenths of a second quicker than Tickford Racing duo Mark Winterbottom and Chaz Mostert, who exchanged second position after the chequered flag.
The Shell V-Power Racing Fords of Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard continued to struggle, finishing 12th and 16th, respectively.
Percat was prominent throughout the 45-minute session and his best of 1:49.5892s, 0.8393s slower than the Friday benchmark, came during the penultimate run for the #8 Mobil ZB Commodore.
“It’s awesome to be in that front five but far out, if that thing is quickest there are some blokes working real hard, because I feel all our cars are still outside the window,” declared Percat.
“We’re just teetering on the edge. The good thing is my car’s been good on old tyres and new tyres and it shows that our package is good here because I did next to no laps yesterday in Practice 1 (due to transaxle problems) and rolled out quick so credit to the guys.
“Just keep resurfacing all the tracks around the country and BJR will be on for a championship.
“It is good but a lot of work to do and I imagine the 26 others will say the same thing.”
His full-time Brad Jones Racing team-mates Tim Blanchard (#21 CoolDrive ZB Commodore) and Tim Slade (#14 Freightliner ZB Commodore) ended the session fourth and eighth, respectively.
Splitting them was Tickford’s two former Bathurst 1000 winners.
Winterbottom very briefly held top spot just before Percat’s ultimate benchmark and was second ahead of the final runs.
Mostert (#55 Supercheap Auto FGX Falcon) shot up from 17th to second with the chequered flag out before Winterbottom (#5 The Bottle-O FGX Falcon) edged back in front of his team-mate with a lap 0.2248s slower than Percat’s best.
Andre Heimgartner was fastest at the halfway mark in the #7 Plus Fitness Nissan Altima, got bumped outside the top 10, then set a time good enough for fifth on his final lap.
Friday fast man Shane van Gisbergen (#97 Red Bull HRT ZB Commodore) was sixth and 1.2448s slower in Saturday’s only practice session, which ran in colder conditions than the day before.
Triple Eight team-mate Craig Lowndes was next in the #888 Autobarn ZB Commodore having found 1.8146s compared to his fastest Friday lap time, an effort which saw him also hold top spot during the session.
Jamie Whincup (#1 Triple Eight ZB Commodore) finished ninth and Michael Caruso (#23 Industrial Athlete Nissan Altima) 10th.
The Bend’s new surface and technical layout continued to catch out several drivers, including Whincup and McLaughlin.
The latter was set to usurp Heimgartner’s then-fastest lap just before the halfway mark until he ran off at the second-last corner.
McLaughlin finished the session three-quarters of a second off the pace, while David Reynolds was further back in 15th in the #9 Penrite ZB Commodore.
Armor All Qualifying for Race 22 starts at 1315 local time/1345 AEST.
Results: Supercars Practice 3
|1||8 X-Convenience – Mobil Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||1:49.5892*S|
|2||5 The Bottle-O Racing Team||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:49.8140 S||00.2248|
|3||55 Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:49.8229 S||00.2337|
|4||21 Team CoolDrive||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore ZB||1:49.8925 S||00.3033|
|5||7 Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||1:49.9753 S||00.3861|
|6||97 Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane Van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||1:49.9947 S||00.4055|
|7||888 Autobarn Lowndes Racing||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore ZB||1:50.0355 S||00.4463|
|8||14 Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||1:50.1738 S||00.5846|
|9||1 Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||1:50.3034 S||00.7142|
|10||23 Drive Racing||Michael Caruso||Nissan Altima||1:50.3258 S||00.7366|
|11||34 Wilson Security Racing GRM||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||1:50.3403 S||00.7511|
|12||17 Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:50.3459 S||00.7567|
|13||99 Erebus Motorsport||Anton de Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||1:50.3748 S||00.7856|
|14||2 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||1:50.4296 S||00.8404|
|15||9 Erebus Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||1:50.6007 S||01.0115|
|16||12 Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:50.7342 S||01.1450|
|17||15 Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:50.7524 S||01.1632|
|18||230 Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:50.8973 S||01.3081|
|19||33 Wilson Security Racing GRM||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore ZB||1:50.9855 S||01.3963|
|20||25 Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||1:51.0550 S||01.4658|
|21||4 DrillPro Racing||Macauley Jones||Holden Commodore ZB||1:51.0731 S||01.4839|
|22||56 RABBLE.club Racing||Richie Stanaway||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:51.3031 S||01.7139|
|23||78 Team Harvey Norman||Simona De Silvestro||Nissan Altima||1:51.4145 S||01.8253|
|24||6 Monster Energy Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Falcon FG/X||1:51.6665 S||02.0773|
|25||42 Arcoplate Racing||Kurt Kostecki||Holden Commodore VF||1:51.9312 S||02.3420|
|26||19 Tekno Autosport||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||1:52.0859 S||02.4967|
|27||18 Preston Hire Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Holden Commodore ZB||1:52.5347 S||02.9455|
|28||35 Bigmate Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Holden Commodore VF||1:53.0588 S||03.4696|