Scott McLaughlin has further lowered the practice record at The Bend as Shane van Gisbergen endured a torrid time in the third full-field session of the weekend.
McLaughlin, who also smashed the practice record the afternoon earlier, was more than three quarters of a second faster than the rest with a 1:47.9865s on used tyres in Practice 3, while Chaz Mostert and then Anton De Pasquale were next-best.
Van Gisbergen, on the other hand, ended up 20th having gone off four times in the #97 Red Bull HRT ZB Commodore during the half-hour session.
The hit-out was barely underway when a red flag was called in the seventh minute due to debris brought onto the track by a Macauley Jones (#21 CoolDrive ZB Commodore) off at Turn 18.
By then, van Gisbergen had already run off twice, first at Turn 13 followed by a wild moment when he hit the kerb and picked up two wheels through the succession of right-handers.
McLaughlin clocked a 1:48.9311s on his first flyer after the red flag in the #17 Shell V-Power Mustang, taking top spot from Cameron Waters (#6 Monster Energy Mustang).
On his next run, the championship leader set a 1:48.4030s on P3 tyres, putting him almost nine tenths of a second ahead of his rivals at that point in time.
DJR Team Penske reportedly bolted another used set of tyres onto Car #17 for the final run, when McLaughlin became the first driver to lap The Bend Motorsport Park in a Supercar in the 1:47s bracket.
As expected, most of the fast laps came right at the end of the session, which ran in cloudy conditions throughout.
Mostert moved to a 1:48.7594s late on in the #55 Supercheap Auto Mustang, while De Pasquale (#99 Penrite ZB Commodore) was less than three hundredths slower again.
Waters and Lee Holdsworth (#5 The Bottle-O Mustang) made it three Tickford Racing entries in the top five, the former as the last driver within a second of McLaughlin’s fastest lap.
Rounding out the top 10 were Scott Pye (#2 Mobil 1 Mega ZB Commodore), Will Davison (#23 Milwaukee Mustang), Mark Winterbottom (#18 Irwin Tools ZB Commodore), James Courtney (#22 Walkinshaw Andretti United ZB Commodore), and Tim Slade (#14 Freightliner ZB Commodore).
Fabian Coulthard (#12 Mustang) was 15th at 1.4106s slower than his team-mate in the second of the DJRTP entries, one position ahead of Erebus Motorsport’s David Reynolds (#9 ZB Commodore).
Wildcards Thomas Randle (#66 Scandia Mustang) and Jack Smith (#4 SCT Logistics ZB Commodore) were 17th and 18th respectively.
Van Gisbergen had two more offs after the red flag, including a moment at Turn 5 when his car snapped sideways and the steering wheel whip appeared to hurt his left wrist.
The 2016 champion even quipped, “Yay! I did a lap,” when he finally logged a somewhat representative lap time as he took the chequered flag, despite still being 1.6753s slower than McLaughlin.
Team-mate Jamie Whincup (#88 ZB Commodore) was even further back, in 24th.
Armor All Qualifying for Race 21 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship starts at 1235 local time/1305 AEST.
Results: Practice 3
|1||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Mustang GT||1:47.9865|
|2||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Mustang GT||1:48.7594||0:00.7729|
|3||99||Penrite Racing||Anton De Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||1:48.7844||0:00.7979|
|4||6||Monster Energy Racing Team||Cameron Waters||Ford Mustang GT||1:48.9334||0:00.9469|
|5||5||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Lee Holdsworth||Ford Mustang GT||1:48.9921||0:01.0056|
|6||2||Mobil 1 MEGA Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||1:48.9934||0:01.0069|
|7||23||Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Mustang GT||1:49.1473||0:01.1608|
|8||18||Irwin Racing||Mark Winterbottom||Holden Commodore ZB||1:49.1759||0:01.1894|
|9||22||Mobil 1 MEGA Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||1:49.2054||0:01.2189|
|10||14||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||1:49.2236||0:01.2371|
|11||21||Team CoolDrive||Macauley Jones||Holden Commodore ZB||1:49.2534||0:01.2669|
|12||35||Unit Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Holden Commodore ZB||1:49.2791||0:01.2926|
|13||3||RABBLE.club Racing||Garry Jacobson||Nissan Altima||1:49.3341||0:01.3476|
|14||7||Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||1:49.3681||0:01.3816|
|15||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Mustang GT||1:49.3971||0:01.4106|
|16||9||Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||1:49.4303||0:01.4438|
|17||66||Scandia Racing||Thomas Randle||Ford Mustang GT||1:49.5894||0:01.6029|
|18||4||SCT Logistics Racing||Jack Smith||Holden Commodore ZB||1:49.6248||0:01.6383|
|19||34||Boost Mobile Racing||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||1:49.6496||0:01.6631|
|20||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||1:49.6618||0:01.6753|
|21||15||Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:49.6646||0:01.6781|
|22||78||Team Harvey Norman||Simona De Silvestro||Nissan Altima||1:49.7821||0:01.7956|
|23||19||Truck Assist TEKNO Racing||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||1:49.9971||0:02.0106|
|24||88||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||1:50.0142||0:02.0277|
|25||8||X Convenience Mobil Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||1:50.1088||0:02.1223|
|26||33||Boost Mobile Racing||Richie Stanaway||Holden Commodore ZB||1:50.2410||0:02.2545|