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Whincup tops Supercars practice in Darwin

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 16/06/2017 Matt Coughlan

Holden star Jamie Whincup's desperate search for his first Supercars win of the season is on track after posting Friday's quickest practice lap in Darwin.

The Red Bull Racing driver scorched the Hidden Valley Raceway track in 1min 6.0360sec, ahead of Ford's Scott McLaughlin who was 0.0345 away in second.

Whincup's Triple Eight Racing teammate Craig Lowndes, having competed at all 20 Darwin events, was third quickest.

Whincup has been frustrated by not being able to break through this season, but his sizzling practice time sent a clear message he would be a force to be reckoned with over the weekend.

He said his car had improved since a test day leading into the meet.

"Hopefully that continues on for the rest of the weekend," Whincup said.

Walkinshaw Racing's Scott Pye was fourth fastest with Erebus driver David Reynolds rounding out the top five.

Whincup said the surface hadn't deteriorated since last year's meet.

"Since the track's been resurfaced, you can actually do some laps, do some testing here. Back in the day, the tyres would overheat after two laps," Whincup said.

"I think we're in pretty good shape for the weekend."

McLaughlin was the only Ford driver in the top 10 with his DJR Team Penske teammate and series leader Fabian Coulthard 13th in the second session.

Defending champion Shane Van Gisbergen was ninth, but less than a second separated the top 22 of the 28 drivers.

Drivers will get a final practice session on Saturday morning before qualifying at 12:45pm and a 42-lap race at 4:15pm.

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