Scott McLaughlin has taken another small step towards an elusive Peter Brock Trophy, clinching provisional ARMOR ALL Pole Position for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
Having set record after record throughout practice in the Mount Panorama sunshine, McLaughlin was not deterred by the wet Friday afternoon conditions.
The Shell V-Power Racing driver enjoyed a session-long battle with Tickford Racing’s Chaz Mostert, the pair trading times at the top of the leaderboard.
McLaughlin set the initial benchmark at 2:33.472s and improved it to 2:30.634 before Mostert delivered the next three purple laps.
McLaughlin snuck back ahead and kept improving, ultimately finishing with a 2:27.647s.
Mostert improved with his final run but ended up four tenths back in second, ahead of Shane van Gisbergen, who had a trio of offs during the 40-minute session.
“I was so nervous before that qualifying session because we had such a good car and this is probably going to be the only wet session that we have,” said McLaughlin.
“I’m really proud. We’ve been struggling with our wet car, but we had an awesome car from the start. That was hands-down the best wet car I’ve ever had.”
Added Mostert: “The second set [of tyres] we put on didn’t come in until very, very late. It is what it is. At least we’re in the 10.
“Everyone in pitlane can give themselves a pat on the back. I had about 10 or a dozen moments out there were I thought ‘that was close’, no doubt everyone was feeling that.”
Will Davison was fourth, ahead of Brad Jones Racing teammates Tim Slade and Nick Percat.
Jamie Whincup and Cameron Waters looked set to miss the cut for the ARMOR ALL Top 10 Shootout tomorrow but made it through in seventh and eighth.
Whincup battled for pace for much of the session after an unfortunate Practice 5 crash, while Waters only made it out on track in the final 10 minutes after battling sensor issues.
“We probably didn’t change enough for the wet and we were down in the 20s,” noted Whincup.
“But the engineers did a good job, they ground away at it and just scraped into the 10, which is nice.”
Mark Winterbottom and Anton De Pasquale snuck through in the 10, with Rick Kelly the unlucky man to miss out as the lead Nissan.
Fabian Coulthard (16th), Lee Holdsworth (20th) and David Reynolds (22nd) were the biggest scalps, leaving themselves with a big mission ahead in Sunday’s race.
The slippery conditions meant many took trips across the grass at The Chase, but there were no major incidents to speak of.
Rain made life difficult for wildcard debutant Alexander Rossi, who could manage no better than 25th on a 2:31.6046s.
Fellow wildcard Brodie Kostecki was one spot further up, three hundredths quicker.
Two 30-minute practice sessions will take place on Saturday ahead of the ARMOR ALL Top 10 Shootout.