David Reynolds narrowly missed out on a practice lap record as he edged Scott McLaughlin to the top spot in the third and final session of day one at Mount Panorama.
McLaughlin set a stunning 2:05.1276s 19 minutes into the hour session that stood until the Erebus Holden shaved 0.034s from the benchmark in the dying stages.
Reynolds’ time proved less than 0.2s adrift of Jamie Whincup’s existing practice lap record, set on the Friday of the 2015 event.
Click here for the full Practice 3 result.
“I gave a little bit away across the top and did a bad job somewhere, but that’s what practice is about,” noted Reynolds.
“Our car’s performing really well today, all the team’s been fantastic. It’s good to be on ‘Thursday pole’."
McLaughlin had moved 1.3s clear of previous fast-man Shane van Gisbegen when he clocked his 2:05.1276s just before the 20 minute mark.
The Red Bull driver had three minor offs during the early stages as he chased a fast time, before eventually crashing heavily at the Dipper 29 minutes in.
Carrying too much speed through The Esses, the Commodore clouted the wall heavily on the left-hand-side, ending a day in which the #97 entry was just 23rd in the opening two sessions.
Click here for more on van Gisbergen’s crash.
Michael Caruso meanwhile chipped away at McLaughlin, moving to second just prior to van Gisbergen’s crash – albeit still 1.2s adrift of the benchmark.
The Nissan driver improved again shortly after the stoppage, but was still more than a second away from the flying Shell Ford.
A second red flag – this time to retrieve Simona De Silvestro’s Nissan after it stopped on Conrod Straight with an electrical issue – fell with 12 minutes remaining.
After the resumption, Jamie Whincup was the first to get anywhere near McLaughlin, moving to second, 0.5s adrift.
McLaughlin narrowly failed to improve and, with Reynolds providing the late heroics, the championship leader ended up second ahead of team-mate Fabian Coulthard.
Garry Rogers Motorsport's Garth Tander slotted into fourth ahead of Whincup, Nick Percat, Mark Winterbottom, Jason Bright, Scott Pye and Will Davison.
The late flurry of fast times dumped Caruso to 17th, four places behind the leading Nissan of Todd Kelly.
Van Gisbergen fell to 20th as he sat in the garage, while Chaz Mostert showed early speed but ended up 21st.