Anton De Pasquale has topped final practice at the Beaurepaires Melbourne 400 in a session ended early by a scary crash for Macauley Jones.
The Team CoolDrive Commodore suffered a suspected rear brake failure approaching Turn 1, giving Jones no chance as his #3 fired through the gravel trap and into the tyre barriers.
Jones emerged from the wreckage unscathed but whether his car can be repaired for ARMOR ALL Qualifying this afternoon is not yet clear.
“It looks like the rear brake must've failed,” explained Jones’ engineer Julian Stannard.
“It looks like the [pedal] went to the floor, but then no pressure, so the front brake has locked up as he's tried to stop.
“Obviously not enough braking to stop, so it looks like he hit the wall at about 80km/h.”
After returning to the team garage, Jones confirmed he was uninjured.
“[I’m in] a little bit of shock, but it’s pretty standard. I feel OK," he said.
“Hopefully we can assess what’s wrong with it and fix it.”
With red flags being waved with about two minutes left on the clock, Jack Le Brocq lost his chance to complete what shaped as being the fastest lap of the session.
The Supercheap Mustang instead had to settle for eighth, with De Pasquale at the front of a Penrite Racing one-two.
The #99 driver had spent a fair chunk of Practice 1 in the garage but bounced back nicely, leaping to the top early with a 1:56.8579s.
He then improved that benchmark to a 1:56.6379, although still more than two tenths shy of Jamie Whincup’s Practice 1 time.
“We always expect to roll out pretty good, we always expect to have a bit of pace and everyone puts a lot of effort in,” said De Pasquale.
“So far it's alright, obviously the red flag kind of ruins a lot of people's last runs, so we'll see how quali pans out.”
Rick Kelly was the best of the rest behind De Pasquale and David Reynolds; his teammate Andre Heimgartner had a frustrating time of it as he battled brake issues.
Neither Heimgartner nor Jones set a competitive lap time during the session.
Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen were fourth and fifth for the Red Bull Holden Racing Team, ahead of Will Davison, Mark Winterbottom, Le Brocq, Lee Holdsworth and Cameron Waters.
Shell V-Power Racing continued to fly under the radar with Scott McLaughlin 11th and Fabian Coulthard 21st.
Among the surprise packets were Jake Kostecki and Alex Davison, placing 14th and 15th respectively.
The Turn 9 braking zone continued to catch out drivers, with Chris Pither and Garry Jacobson among those to run off.
The latter ended up 18th, powering on despite recent ankle surgery that has resulted in the team having his PIRTEK Enduro Cup co-driver David Russell on standby.
Next up is ARMOR ALL Qualifying to set the grid for the first of four races, starting at 4:10pm local time.
A second 10-minute qualifying session for the afternoon will take place from 4:30pm.