Cameron Waters has set the fastest lap in Practice 3 for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 as the pace got into the 2:04s.
The Tickford Racing driver was almost three tenths of a second faster than Scott McLaughlin with a personal best of 2:04.1696s compared to the champion-elect’s 2:04.4633s.
Shane van Gisbergen was third at a further 0.0305s slower after a final phase of the session dominated by qualifying simulations, while fellow Red Bull Holden Racing Team driver Jamie Whincup ended up 16th.
Waters had kicked off proceedings with a 2:06.6155s in the #6 Monster Energy Mustang although that did not stand for long as the benchmark.
The second set of timed laps saw McLaughlin (#17 Mustang) set a 2:06.5310s, his Shell V-Power Racing team-mate Fabian Coulthard (#12 Mustang) a 2:06.2812s, and Chaz Mostert (#25 Mobil 1 Appliances Online ZB Commodore) a 2:06.2774s.
Mostert’s time was fastest only for as long as it took McLaughlin to get back to the main straight and break the beam at a 2:06.2220s, after which the championship leader held top spot for around a quarter of an hour.
Craig Lowndes had started the session in the #888 ZB Commodore which was sidelined for much of Practice 2 with a power steering issue before handing over to Whincup, who went and rolled out a 2:05.7202s in the 25th minute.
McLaughlin and then van Gisbergen (#97 ZB Commodore) went second with a 2:06.1670s and a 2:06.0637s respectively, before Andre Heimgartner (#7 Ned Mustang) shifted the benchmark to a 2:05.7138s not long before halfway through the session.
McLaughlin had been shuffled back to sixth before he reclaimed the ascendancy with a 2:05.2599s during his third run.
Coulthard closed to 0.2909s off the pace with just over 20 minutes remaining, immediately before pinching a brake and running long at Hell Corner, and Mostert took up third with a 2:05.8212s a few minutes later.
Mostert’s Walkinshaw Andretti United team-mate Bryce Fullwood (#2 Mobil 1 Middy’s ZB Commodore) split the DJR Team Penske cars when he went to a 2:05.3144s in the 48th minute.
Waters went even better when he set the first ‘four’ of the day, a 2:04.8029s which had Car #6 0.4570s faster than next-best with 10 minutes remaining.
Ahead of the qualifying simulations it was the Tickford driver heading McLaughlin, Fullwood, James Courtney (#44 Boost Mobile Mustang), Coulthard, Anton De Pasquale (#99 Penrite ZB Commodore), Holdsworth, Warren Luff (#25 ZB Commodore), Heimgartner, and Whincup, with van Gisbergen 11th.
Both Triple Eight Race Engineering cars reportedly had springs, shocks, and rear cambers changed for their final runs, with van Gisbergen subsequently wheeling #97 to a 2:04.7662s.
Heimgartner fired in a 2:04.7407s before McLaughlin, who had been fastest to the first sector but straight-lined The Esses on his preceding lap, clocked a 2:04.4633s in his final attempt.
Waters, who had done the same as McLaughlin on his previous run, came out with a lower rear wing on the #6 Mustang and steered it to the 2:04.1696s just before the chequered flag.
Van Gisbergen found a few more tenths to edge Heimgartner back to fourth, while a late 2:04.9925s from Nick Percat (#8 R&J Batteries ZB Commodore) saw him claim fifth.
Coulthard was sixth with a 2:05.0730s, ahead of Holdsworth, De Pasquale, Courtney, and Fullwood.
Mostert/Luff were shuffled back to 14th and Whincup went no faster than the 2:05.7202s which he set in the earlier half of the session.
Refuelling was allowed in Practice 3 and much of the first 20 minutes or so was spent practicing enduro pit stops, including rotor changes, with varying degrees of success, although Erebus Motorsport opted to focus on car speed.
While both Whincup and Percat were seen glancing the wall exiting Forrest’s Elbow, it was once again a relatively low-drama session.
Practice 4, for co-drivers only, starts tomorrow at 09:45 local time/AEDT.
Results: Practice 3
|1||6||Monster Energy Racing||C.Waters/W.Davison||Ford Mustang GT||2:04.1696|
|2||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Mustang GT||2:04.4633||0:00.2937|
|3||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||S.van Gisbergen/G.Tander||Holden Commodore ZB||2:04.4938||0:00.3242|
|4||7||NED Whisky Racing||A.Heimgartner/D.O’Keeffe||Ford Mustang GT||2:04.7407||0:00.5711|
|5||8||R&J Batteries||N.Percat/T.Randle||Holden Commodore ZB||2:04.9925||0:00.8229|
|6||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Mustang GT||2:05.0730||0:00.9034|
|7||5||Truck Assist Racing||L.Holdsworth/M.Caruso||Ford Mustang GT||2:05.0966||0:00.9270|
|8||99||Penrite Racing||A.De Pasquale/B.Kostecki||Holden Commodore ZB||2:05.1319||0:00.9623|
|9||44||Boost Mobile Racing||J.Courtney/B.Feeney||Ford Mustang GT||2:05.1430||0:00.9734|
|10||2||Mobil 1 TM Middy’s Racing||B.Fullwood/K.Kostecki||Holden Commodore ZB||2:05.1440||0:00.9744|
|11||18||IRWIN Racing||M.Winterbottom/J.Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||2:05.3204||0:01.1508|
|12||20||DEWALT Racing||S.Pye/D.Fiore||Holden Commodore ZB||2:05.3853||0:01.2157|
|13||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||J.Le Brocq/J.Moffat||Ford Mustang GT||2:05.5677||0:01.3981|
|14||25||Mobil 1 Appliances Online||C.Mostert/W.Luff||Holden Commodore ZB||2:05.5812||0:01.4116|
|15||14||Cub Cadet Mowers||T.Hazelwood/J.Boys||Holden Commodore ZB||2:05.6597||0:01.4901|
|16||888||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||J.Whincup/C.Lowndes||Holden Commodore ZB||2:05.7202||0:01.5506|
|17||35||Yellow Cover Racing||G.Jacobson/D.Russell||Holden Commodore ZB||2:05.9568||0:01.7872|
|18||9||Penrite Racing||D.Reynolds/W.Brown||Holden Commodore ZB||2:06.0002||0:01.8306|
|19||34||UNIT Racing||Jake Kostecki||Holden Commodore ZB||2:06.0294||0:01.8598|
|20||15||Castrol Racing||R.Kelly/D.Wood||Ford Mustang GT||2:06.1393||0:01.9697|
|21||19||Local Legends Racing||Alex Davison||Holden Commodore ZB||2:06.1648||0:01.9952|
|22||3||Team CoolDrive||M.Jones/T.Blanchard||Holden Commodore ZB||2:06.2607||0:02.0911|
|23||4||SCT Motor Sports||Jack Smith||Holden Commodore ZB||2:07.1111||0:02.9415|
|24||22||Team SYDNEY||C.Pither/S.Owen||Holden Commodore ZB||2:07.6507||0:03.4811|
|25||40||Team Valvoline GRM||T.Everingham/J.Ojeda||Holden Commodore ZB||2:08.0537||0:03.8841|