Veteran Paul Morris is keen to springboard off his historic Bathurst victory and claim the PIRTEK Enduro Cup at this weekend's Castrol Edge Gold Coast 600.
The local Gold Coast resident teamed with tyro Chaz Mostert for a last-to-first victory at Bathurst and they have the front-running in the chase for the Pirtek Enduro Cup, for overall performances at the three endurances races at Sandown 500, Mount Panorama and this weekend's Gold Coast 600.
The unlikely duo will have plenty of competition especially from New Zealander Shane van Gisbergen, who put aside the bitter disappointment when victory at Bathurst was snatched from his grasp 10 laps from the finish. Paired withTeam Tekno VIP Petfoods owner Jonathon Webb, he was fastest in today's practice ahead of qualifying and the first race tomorrow.
Van Gisbergen headed off Pirtek Enduro Cup contenders James Courtney with Greg Murphy from Holden Racing Team and last year's Gold Coast 600 Champions Dave Reynolds and Dean Canto.
Morris and Mostert were handily placed fifth fastest in practice as they chase the overall honours this weekend.
"The Pirtek Cup means a lot to me. Sandown has a lot of history, Bathurst has a lot of history and I personally have been racing here since 1992 on my home streets, so to be in contention to for that (Pirtek Enduro Cup) and the chance to win it is exciting," Morris said.
"If Chaz and I could put our name on that trophy it would be awesome."
Morris says he will have to be more aggressive than his role at Bathurst if they are to prosper this weekend.
"It's tough when you're an old guy like me has to get on the wheel and attack those chicanes. If I can get through that, give it over to Chaz and watch him work his magic it's fine."
Morris is geared up for a big effort in what he believes is a great race in a great place.
"This race for the Gold Coast is economically important but it is also good for Gold Coasters. It's a lot of history here and we are renowned for having a good time," he said.
"There isn't a car race like this in the world. I've been all over the world and people don't enjoy their car racing as much as they do on the Gold Coast."
Van Gisbergen, who suffered a starter-motor failure while leading within sight of the finish at Bathurst, reckons he has already re-focussed for the job this weekend.
"Monday (after Bathurst) was pretty tough but last week I was playing around at Time Attack and took it out on a pretty angry car. I am over it now and ready to move on," van Gisbergen said.
"Today was about getting use to the track. It was pretty good all day and we had good speed."
Courtney, another to enjoy success on the Gold Coast, is also buoyed for the challenge ahead.
"I love the street circuit and the Holden Racing Team has a big history in street circuits," Courtney said.
Defending champion Reynolds was the leading Ford, and prospered from a slick green-tyre run to grab third fastest.
"I will have to find a few tenths of a second to get to these boys. I love this track and Deano (Canto) did a good job with old tyres today. It's Gold Coast. It is one of those races."
Bathurst victor Chaz Mostert came home fourth, with Scott McLaughlin, Scott Pye, Will Davison, Mark Winterbottom and Fabian Coulthard completing the top 10.
Fan favourite Craig Lowndes came home 13th in his Red Bull Commodore.
The session was red flagged with around 10 minutes to go for maintenance to a tyre bundle, while more drivers were pinged for overuse, Rick Kelly just one who copped a two-minute stop penalty.
ARMOR ALL Qualifying starts the V8 Supercars action tomorrow, with an 11.35am start, followed by a Top 10 Shootout.