Defending series champion Shane van Gisbergen has vented his frustration to set a new lap record and dominate Supercars practice at Perth.
The flying Kiwi clocked 54.77 seconds on the tight 2.4km Barbagallo Raceway circuit, shaving 0.21 of a second off Holden teammate Jamie Whincup’s 2011 practice mark.
Series leader – Ford’s DJR Team Penske driver Fabian Coulthard – was also under Whincup’s old record in 54.79 to finish second fastest in Friday’s final 45 minute practice session.
Six-time series champion Whincup was third quickest.
Van Gisbergen is second in the standings after three rounds, just seven points behind Coulthard, but claims he had arrived in Perth with a point to prove.
“I am pretty frustrated with my year so far,” he said.
“Apart from (opening round) Adelaide, the other rounds have been really crazy.
“I am disappointed but I am still second (in standings).
“It shows we have pretty high standards from last year and need to put it all together again.”
Remarkably, Van Gisbergen’s effort helped him jump from fourth-last in the 26-strong field to the top in the dying moments of the day’s second practice session.
Mark Winterbottom was fourth fastest, while Ford teammate Chaz Mostert completed the top five.
Coulthard had a spring in his step after staying in touch with Van Gisbergen, in front of legendary team boss Roger Penske.
The US motorsport giant is in Perth for his annual visit to Australia and watched first hand as Coulthard maintained his hot 2017 form.
Penske was seen holding an inspirational chat to his troops in the team garage after final practice on Friday.
“It was a pretty cool moment,” Coulthard said.
“For him to give us a pep talk gives the boys confidence.
“It’s early days but to be leading the championship and to have Roger come into town is perfect timing.
“He is rapt with how the team is going but we have a long way to go.”
The sole red flag on Friday emerged midway through the final practice session after 16-year-old Alex Rullo tussled with Whincup, locked it up and found the sand on turn seven.
Holden’s Garth Tander was fastest in the opening practice session in 55.64 but was only 19th quickest on Friday afternoon.
The opening 120km race will be held on Saturday.
Qualifying starts at 1355 AEST.