Scott McLaughlin is in a world of his own at Bathurst.
Scott McLaughlin is in a world of his own at Bathurst.

‘Quickest ever seen’: Freak does it again

FOR the second time in as many days, runaway Supercars series leader Scott McLaughlin has set a lap record in an ominous warning before Bathurst 1000 qualifying.

But there was drama for No.1 Holden outfit Red Bull Racing after seven-time series champion Jamie Whincup hit the wall at the top of Mount Panorama on Friday.

Less than 24 hours after clocking the fastest time at Bathurst, Ford's McLaughlin was at it again when he topped the timesheets in 2min 03.48 sec at final practice before Friday's qualifying session.

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"The best we've ever seen," one commentator said as McLaughlin crossed the line.

It was 0.29 sec faster than Thursday's blistering effort.

"It was a full-on lap. I am just hanging on at the top of the mountain," McLaughlin said.

"It's cool to be there (lap record holder) but I think there is still a bit more (speed) yet."

It was another boost for the defending series champion's quest to claim a maiden Bathurst title.

McLaughlin has adopted a "win or bin it" approach at the mountain thanks to his 598-point championship lead.

The huge buffer means he can crash out in the next two rounds and still conceivably lead the series.

While McLaughlin was all smiles, Whincup cut a frustrated figure after he was in the wrong place at the wrong time during final practice.

Four-time Bathurst winner Whincup hit the wall after trying to avert Holden's Richie Stanaway who crashed just ahead of him.

It ensured some anxious moments for Red Bull Racing who must repair the Commodore before qualifying.

Whincup is one of the hot favourites after recruiting seven-time Bathurst winner Craig Lowndes as his co-driver, reuniting again after they won three straight Great Races from 2006.

"It hit the wall but it wasn't the worst (crash)," Whincup said. "I am pretty confident we will be out there (for qualifying)."

Whincup and Stanaway's bingles were part of an eventful final practice which featured three red flags after Nissan's Simona de Silvestro and IndyCar driver Alex Rossi had separate incidents on turn one.

The session ultimately was cut short when Rossi's Commodore speared off Hell Corner and into the gravel.

Comeback of the day went to Holden's David Reynolds who was fourth fastest on Friday.

The former Bathurst champion was not expected to feature until qualifying after his co-driver Luke Youlden crashed their Commodore in Thursday's practice.

But his Penrite Racing team worked throughout the night to ensure Youlden was back behind the wheel in Friday morning's first practice session for co-drivers.

News Corp Australia


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