Jamie Whincup has shown some early promise ahead of this weekend’s V8 Supercars round at Sydney Motorsport Park, finishing second-fastest in opening practice.
Holden’s six-time champion was just 0.29secs shy of Volvo driver David Wall, who topped the timesheets on Friday with a lap of 1min 30.5322secs.
“I was a bit surprised by the time actually,” Wall admitted.
Mercedes’ Ash Walsh, Chaz Mostert of Ford, and Wall’s teammate Scott McLaughlin rounded out the top five.
Whincup has gone 14 races without a win – a streak not seen since 2007, before he won his first title.
He sits seventh in the overall standings, 480 points adrift of Ford’s leader Mark Winterbottom.
Winterbottom was eighth quickest in the first of two sessions, 0.73secs off the pace, while his chief title rival Craig Lowndes was down in 14th.
Just 256 points separate Winterbottom and Lowndes, who is chasing his fourth crown but first since 1999.
Holden Racing Team’s James Courtney almost missed the session because of an oil line issued suffered during the co-driver practice session earlier in the day, but ended up 11th fastest after some quick changes.
Dean Fiore, in Michael Caruso’s Nissan, was quickest in the co-driver practice session.
A second one-hour practice begins at 1.50pm (AEST).