After some anxious moments, Chaz Mostert’s Ford team has topped the timesheets at Bathurst 1000 final practice at Mount Panorama on Saturday.
Mostert clocked two minutes, 05.33 seconds to be quickest ahead of Saturday’s top 10 shootout.
It will decide the front end of the grid for Sunday’s Great Race.
But for a moment, Mostert would have been forgiven for fearing he may not have a car intact to use for final qualifying.
History appeared set to repeat itself when Mostert’s co-driver Steve Owen almost lost control at The Dipper on the start of the mountain’s descent during final practice.
It was the exact spot where Mostert suffered a horror qualifying crash last year, abruptly ending his Bathurst title defence by breaking his leg and ruling him out of the rest of the season.
But Owen avoided disaster by somehow wrestling back control.
It was a dramatic moment – but at first Owen hoped no one had noticed.
“I was a bit loose coming down the mountain,” Owen said.
“I had a look at the big screen and hoped it hadn’t been picked up but there are TV cameras everywhere here – you can’t get away with anything anymore.”
Mostert was fastest at final practice ahead of Ford’s Mark Winterbottom and Volvo driver Scott McLaughlin.
Provisional pole sitter Jamie Whincup of Holden went through the motions to be 12th fastest.
Defending Bathurst champion Craig Lowndes was 16th fastest.
The veteran will start Sunday’s Great Race from 21st on the grid after his worst qualifying effort on the mountain on Friday.
He contested his first Bathurst 1000 in 1994.
Lowndes is the sentimental favourite to win a seventh Bathurst crown on the weekend the 10th anniversary of his mentor Peter Brock’s death will be honoured at Mount Panorama.
His co-driver Steven Richards tried to provide some much needed good news for Lowndes after final practice.
“The car is definitely more predictable today – at this stage it feels like we are heading in the right direction,” he said.
The all-female team of Simona de Silvestro and Renee Gracie finished second last in the 27 strong field in final practice.
And they were slapped with a suspended $5000 fine after failing to take part in the traditional parade of team transporter trucks on Wednesday.