MOTORSPORT: As each of the big guns fired their shots at the end of the opening day of Bathurst 1000 practice, it was an unlikely contender who emerged fastest.
David Reynolds headed Practice 3 for Erebus Motorsport with a stunning lap, just fractionally outside the lap record.
He pipped form fast man Scott McLaughlin by just 0.034 of a second - and believes a better run over the top could have seen the lap record fall yesterday.
"Could've been achieved then I reckon," Reynolds said.
"I gave a little bit away across the top, but that's what practice is all about. It's good to be here on Thursday pole."
McLaughlin failed to improve on his final run on new tyres and fell just short of ending the day on top after laying down his quickest lap just 18 minutes into the session.
For the record, the best sector times of Reynolds (first and last sectors) and McLaughlin's (middle sector across the top) add up to a 2m04.72s, some two 10ths under Jamie Whincup's lap record from 2015.
Fabian Coulthard surged late to claim third while Garth Tander was a surprising fourth, overcoming Garry Rogers Motorsport's lack of data with last year's Dunlop tyres to end the session just two tenths away from the mark.
"The car was really nice; I think the driver didn't keep up with the car that lap," Tander said.
"We thought (the track) would be quick, even from the Super2 practice this morning. If it doesn't rain it's going to get really quick because the track keeps its rubber.
"So hopefully it doesn't rain because it's really fun when it's fast!"
Whincup was next, half a second off Reynolds' and McLaughlin's pace but unruffled with his position after the first day of running.
"No, the car's excellent, really really happy, little tweak here, tweak there," Whincup said.
"We're not the quickest anywhere, but we've got a good all-rounder."
The other side of the Red Bull garage is in for a long night.
Shane van Gisbergen crashed in the exact same spot that claimed Tim Slade and Richard Muscat earlier in the day, slamming the No. 97 Holden into the fence on the entry to the Dipper.
"As we know, it's pretty unforgiving up there and it was only a very minor thing," Red Bull team manager Mark Dutton said.
"we've not tuned that car too much in the first two sessions, so hence we're trying to make up for lost time and these things happen. It's practice, you've got to push, find limits. You'd prefer not to rub the wall, but it doesn't look crazy bad.
"The positive thing - also the ironic thing - is that he's so happy with the car this session compared to the first session. Obviously you start getting confidence and little mistakes can happen ...
"We've got the people here to fix so we're not too worried."
Other notable performances came from Nick Percat in sixth, a welcome fillip for Brad Jones Racing who are busily rebuilding Slade's No. 14 Freightliner Holden, while Prodrive's Mark Winterbottom and Jason Bright were next.
Scott Pye ended the day ninth on a day where rumours swirled in the paddock about a looming announcement over Walkinshaw Racing's future, while reigning victor Will Davison rounded out the top 10.
Aside from the stoppage for Van Gisbergen's crash, the session was also halted when Simona De Silvestro's Nissan rolled to a stop on the entry to The Chase after what the team reported as an electrical issue.
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