Scott McLaughlin finished just ahead of Jamie Whincup as several front-runners found the grass in the final practice session at the Penrite Oil Sandown 500.
The top six went under David Reynolds’ practice record from the afternoon prior during Practice 4, with McLaughlin clocking a fastest of 1:07.5425s in the #17 Shell V-Power Mustang.
Whincup was on to beat that with the chequered flag out but came up 0.0017s short, with Tickford team-mates Cameron Waters and Lee Holdsworth also within a tenth of a second of the lead DJR Team Penske car.
Waters had set the pace through the first runs with a 1:07.9599s in the #6 Monster Energy Mustang, and Whincup was the only driver to join him in the 1:07s before returning to the pits.
McLaughlin took over the lead through the second runs with a 1:07.7885s after a brief spell on the top of the timing screen for Holdsworth (#5 The Bottle-O Mustang), while Reynolds (#9 Penrite Racing ZB Commodore) moved to third after an off at Turn 2/Turn 3.
Whincup had been fastest to the second sector when he brought the #888 Red Bull HRT ZB Commodore into the pits to end his second run.
McLaughlin took at least two new tyres when he became the first to break the day-old practice record by setting a 1:07.5425s on his third run.
Team-mate Fabian Coulthard straight-lined the Turn 2/Turn 3 complex before he moved up to second with a 1:07.7213s in the #12 Mustang, while Andre Heimgartner (#7 Plus Fitness Altima) set a 1:07.7605s ahead of the final runs.
Holdsworth then took two steps to move back up to second position at 0.0905s behind McLaughlin.
Whincup went fastest to the second sector as the chequered flag came out after the 30 minutes of running, but lost time in the final complex of corners and broke the beam at 1:07.5542s.
“We’ve got to do that (lap record) in qualifying now,” said McLaughlin.
“Car’s feeling really good, it’s been good straight out of the truck; it’s all you can ask out of a new car.
“It’s been a tough few weeks so these guys, I just want to reward them in qualifying.”
Waters, who had sprayed off at Turn 1 in what was reportedly an out lap simulation on his second run, then moved up four spots to third at 0.0606s off the pace.
That left Holdsworth fourth and shuffled Coulthard and Heimgartner back to fifth and sixth, respectively.
Ironically, Reynolds was first outside his old practice record in seventh, ahead of Will Davison (#23 Milwaukee Mustang), Chaz Mostert (#55 Supercheap Auto Mustang), and Mark Winterbottom (#18 Irwin Tools ZB Commodore).
Anton De Pasquale (#99 Penrite ZB Commodore) had an off at Turn 1 on his way to 11th, James Courtney (#22 Mobil 1 ZB Commodore) toured the grass at Turn 2/Turn 3 as he ended up 12th, and Shane van Gisbergen (#97 Red Bull HRT ZB Commodore) did likewise before being bundled back to 18th.
“I made a mistake on our fast lap and went off and got the new cut system (kerb timing loop),” said the latter.
“We’re better than we look but we’ll see how we go this arvo.”
Only primary drivers got behind the wheel in a session which was run under grey skies.
Next for the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship field is Armor All Qualifying at 1225 local time/AEDT.
Results: Practice 4
|1||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Mustang GT||1:07.5425|
|2||888||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||1:07.5442||0:00.0017|
|3||6||Monster Energy Racing Team||Cameron Waters||Ford Mustang GT||1:07.6031||0:00.0606|
|4||5||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Lee Holdsworth||Ford Mustang GT||1:07.6330||0:00.0905|
|5||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Mustang GT||1:07.7213||0:00.1788|
|6||7||Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||1:07.7605||0:00.2180|
|7||9||Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||1:07.8031||0:00.2606|
|8||23||Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Mustang GT||1:07.9353||0:00.3928|
|9||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Mustang GT||1:07.9530||0:00.4105|
|10||18||Irwin Racing||Mark Winterbottom||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.0041||0:00.4616|
|11||99||Penrite Racing||Anton De Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.0239||0:00.4814|
|12||22||Mobil 1 Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.0430||0:00.5005|
|13||34||Boost Mobile Racing||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.0888||0:00.5463|
|14||15||Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:08.1077||0:00.5652|
|15||14||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.1126||0:00.5701|
|16||33||Boost Mobile Racing||Richie Stanaway||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.1467||0:00.6042|
|17||3||RABBLE.club Racing||Garry Jacobson||Nissan Altima||1:08.1490||0:00.6065|
|18||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.2247||0:00.6822|
|19||8||Fujitsu Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.2283||0:00.6858|
|20||2||Mobil 1 Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.2424||0:00.6999|
|21||35||Bigmate Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.2559||0:00.7134|
|22||56||Boost Mobile Kostecki Brothers||Brodie Kostecki||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.5160||0:00.9735|
|23||21||Team CoolDrive||Macauley Jones||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.5456||0:01.0031|
|24||78||Team Harvey Norman||Simona De Silvestro||Nissan Altima||1:08.5502||0:01.0077|
|25||19||Truck Assist TEKNO Racing||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||1:08.7923||0:01.2498|