McLaughlin sets Bathurst lap record

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    Scott McLaughlin was on fire in Perth. (AAP Image/Brendan Esposito)

    Supercars series leader Scott McLaughlin has sounded his Bathurst 1000 intentions by clocking a lap record at Mount Panorama on Friday.

    In the final practice session before Friday’s qualifying, Ford gun McLaughlin made the most of cool track conditions to clock a scorching time of 2min 04.14sec.

    He eclipsed Holden great Jamie Whincup’s 2015 mark by a whopping 0.76sec.

    McLaughlin topped the timesheets in the one-hour session, ahead of Ford’s Chaz Mostert (2:04.67) and Holden’s Nick Percat (2.04.70).

    Qualifying for Sunday’s Great Race starts at 3.50pm.

    McLaughlin stunned pit lane with his blistering lap with 20 minutes left in the final practice session.

    “I am pretty blown away to be honest,” McLaughlin said.

    “That last lap I feel like we could have been a little bit better.

    “The first two sets of tyres I was too twitchy, and then put the last set on and it was a bit better but just made a mistake on the second last corner.

    “But this is not a bad feeling though that is for sure.

    “I will take that time any day.”

    Mark Winterbottom’s Ford teammate Dean Canto had topped Friday’s opening practice featuring only co-drivers in 2:05.33.

    The 26-strong field contested Friday’s two practice sessions after two major casualties on Thursday were, somehow, repaired in time.

    Tim Slade’s Holden was on the track after being in the Brad Jones Racing (BJR) garage since early in Thursday’s opening session.

    BJR’s crew worked into the night after Slade slammed into the wall at 176km/h at the Esses just 30 minutes into Thursday’s first stint.

    Defending series champion Shane van Gisbergen’s Holden was also on track after he came to grief on Thursday.

    Van Gisbergen’s Red Bull Racing team looked set for a long night after the Kiwi smashed into the wall at The Dipper, on top of the mountain, halfway through the final one-hour session, prompting a red flag.

    However, RBR remarkably reported no major damage.

    Van Gisbergen was 15th in final practice with teammate Whincup 14th and six-time Bathurst winner Craig Lowndes seventh quickest.

    © AAP 2018
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