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Supercars have need for Pukekohe speed

AAP logoAAP 4/11/2016 Ben McKay

Drivers at Pukekohe Park predict blistering speed worthy of a Supercars title showdown this weekend - so long as the rain stays away.

The series sole trip to New Zealand has the potential to be a title decider, with Jamie Whincup hoping to whittle the 148-point gap on Red Bull Racing teammate Shane van Gisbergen.

The second-last meet of the season is also a tremendous change of pace as drivers adapt from the endurance series to four hit-and-run 100km races around the New Zealand circuit.

The short and sharp races mean it's possible some pit teams won't be used all weekend - although the dreaded forecast of intermittent showers could change all that.

After tough slogs through the endurance races at Sandown, Bathurst and Surfers Paradise, Craig Lowndes says he'd like to give his pit team a rest for two reasons.

Firstly, they're tired.

Secondly, he wants the title shootout between Whincup and van Gisbergen to play out free of any dramatic interventions.

"I think everyone would prefer a dry weekend. It's sprint races and we don't want to do pit-stops," he told AAP.

"We want to fire from start to finish and if it stays dry it will be better for everyone. It'd be great to see both guys go head-to-head this weekend.

"Without the pit-stops, they don't have to worry about double stacking and they can focus on making a fast car, getting good starts and doing battle on the track."

Both title-chasers lowered the practice lap record on Friday, showing the pace in the bumpy regional circuit.

A weekend without pit-stops would certainly suit the speed demons on the tour, including local hope Scott McLaughlin.

The 23-year-old sits fourth in the standings behind the Red Bull trio and is licking his lips at the short and fast format.

"Our game is a lot to do with qualifying and here, you've got to try and qualify well to get any good results," he told AAP.

"We just have got to try and work out a few plans in regards to getting that qualifying speed, and I'll be working on that in the practices."

The format doesn't help Lowndes as much, who hasn't added to his career tally of 41 poles in his last 40 races.

The much-loved veteran also is yet to break his duck in New Zealand - across 32 races at Pukekohe and 11 at Hamilton over the past 15 years.

"It's not like we haven't tried," he laughed.

"We just haven't had the chance to be on the top step. We've been on two and three a few times.

"It's just a quirky thing that hasn't happened but this year with the sprint format we've got four opportunities. So let's see what this weekend brings."

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