Stunning time leaves van Gisbergen well clear at The Bend
SHANE van Gisbergen laid down a massive marker right at the end of the opening day of Supercars running at The Bend.
The 2016 Supercars champion was half a second faster than teammate Jamie Whincup and almost a full second quicker than anyone else.
It looked wild at times from the onboard camera, but SVG's best lap combined the best individual sectors of any driver across the day.
"Yeah, there's still a fair bit left - there's no way we're genuinely a second faster," he said, downplaying the advantage.
His rivals aren't so sure.
Fastest driver in the morning Tim Slade was third, while Chaz Mostert was fourth - almost a full 1.5 seconds behind van Gisbergen.
"For me, you look at the times, we're a fair bit off the front couple," Mostert conceded.
"The way the car's feeling... how it's feeling is the time it's giving us - that's how far we feel we're off the competition.
"We've got a good base to get in the top 10, but a lot of work to do tonight."
At least he was closer than championship leader Scott McLaughlin.
The DJR Team Penske pilot ended the day 12th, 2.1 seconds down on his title rival's best.
McLaughlin's quickest lap contained the best first sector of the day to that point - tied to a couple of scrappy moments in the second and third sectors - but van Gisbergen improved it by half a second by the end of the session.
Another appearing to be in all-sorts was Craig Lowndes, who ended the day down in 27th after a session where the Autobarn Holden spent plenty of time off the road.
"We tried to do a race run then but it didn't work," Lowndes said.
"We changed the car for a race run condition and we went the wrong way. We went outside the window, and we had to scramble back to a qualifying car.
Lowndes didn't have time for a full flying lap in qualifying mode before the end of the session, but felt confident of being closer to the pace than the timesheets showed.
"The good thing is that we've got the data from the two monkeys next door!" he joked.
The cars have one more 45-minute practice session on Saturday morning before the opening qualifying session of the weekend.
Get 3 months free Sport HD + Entertainment on a 12 month plan and watch the 2018 OTR Supersprint - The Bend Live with no ad-breaks during racing on FOX SPORTS. T & Cs apply. SIGN UP NOW >