David Reynolds shapes as the most likely threat to a Jamie Whincup whitewash of the Bathurst 1000 after the Erebus Motorsport man put his Commodore on top of the timing charts in the final practice at Mount Panorama.
Whincup won provisional pole yesterday by scorching the field and is in the box seat for Saturday’s top 10 shootout.
Reynolds, next fastest in qualifying, went quickest in the final practice session on Saturday morning with a 2:04.4072 lap.
Last year’s champion said he had dreamed of lowering the bar further and promised to bring more speed to the shootout.
“I woke up at 10 to four doing shootout laps in my head so I’m a bit tired,” he said.
“I’ll just try to relax (this afternoon) or I’ll get anxiety trying to do the lap I need to do.
“The time is not too bad. When I get a current batch of tyres on I think Im going to go a bit faster.”
The hour-long practice session on Saturday morning was the first in sunshine all weekend, which saw teams release the handbrake in search of race pace.
And it meant spills.
There were two red flags for crashes from the same car: Brad Jones Racing’s No.14.
Ash Walsh acquainted himself with the wall at Forrest Elbow, the same place that caught out Mark Winterbottom’s co-driver Dean Canto on Friday.
Tim Slade then put the Commodore into the sand at Hell Corner.
They weren’t the only drivers to enjoy hairy moments as drivers chased race pace before the 1000km classic.
Scott McLaughlin lost grip at the Cutting and was close to out of control at 200km/h through one of the circuit’s most challenging sectors.
“I was absolutely kissed then,” McLaughlin said.
“I thought I was in, to be honest. It was more arse than class saving that one.”
McLaughlin and fellow championship-chaser Shane van Gisbergen also saw their co-drivers come close to crashes.
McLaughlin’s co-driver, Alex Premat, spun around at the final corner – as did Whincup – while Earl Bamber, sharing car No.97, skated wide at The Chase.
Cam Waters, one of only two Falcons in the shootout that begins at 5.10pm AEST, also clashed with a tyre wall as he finished the session third fastest.
“You’ve got to get close to them. If you get close to them you don’t hit them as hard,” he said with a smile.
“Today we did two qualifying simulations and we’re feeling comfortable. You’ve got to find the limits.”