McLaughlin, Fords top Supercars practice

Another Supercars session, another Scott McLaughlin masterclass.

Admittedly, this was only practice.

But it was hard not to be impressed with the DJR Team Penske man’s speed around Sydney Motorsport Park on Friday.

The Supercars field did their best to adapt to gusts of wind that topped 100km/hour across Sydney.

Drivers reported top speeds of up to 15km/hour slower than they were used to on the main straight.

Around the back of the circuit, it was a different story as the Supercars tackled a lack of grip and ferocious speeds.

McLaughlin, as he has done so many times this season, rose above it all.

The series leader, who has 11 pole positions from 16 races – including the last five – stormed to the top of the timing charts with a 1:28.8500 lap.

Despite the blustery winds, he came within three hundredths of a second of the lap record.

On this effort, the Kiwi looks a certainty for a sixth-straight pole position on Saturday, an achievement that give him an unbridgeable lead for most poles this season.

It would also boost his bank balance considerably given each pole brings $1,000, and the overall win adds another $10,000.

“You always come into the year and try to qualify the best and be the best qualifier,” McLaughlin said.

“The best thing about the whole award is not the cash – the cash is good, don’t get me wrong – it’s starting up the front.

“It’s been vital to our championship to this year.”

The Kiwi was followed by three other Falcons – the Prodrive Racing trio of Mark Winterbottom, Chaz Mostert and Cam Waters – in a Ford top four.

The winds were so strong that an advertising hoarding blew onto the track during the first practice session, when Michael Caruso topped the timecharts.

The Nissan man was the only driver to dip below one minute 30 seconds in the opening session, but 19 did so in the second session.

Just three Commodores – led by Craig Lowndes in sixth – featured in the fastest 10 cars on Friday.

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