McLaughlin breaks track record in Perth
SCOTT McLaughlin produced the quickest lap ever done by a touring car at Perth's Barbagallo Raceway as five of the six Ford Mustangs progressed on Friday straight to the second stage of qualifying.
The reigning Supercars champion set a best lap of 0:53.125 to top the time sheets, coming in 0.118secs quicker than Chaz Mostert in P2 in front of the onlooking Roger Penske.
Nick Percat broke up the string of Mustangs at the top as Fabian Coulthard and Will Davison completed the top five.
Shane van Gisbergen scraped into the top 10 with his final flying lap to progress straight through to Q2 along with Kelly Racing duo of Rick Kelly and Andre Heimgartner, to maintain the momentum found in Phillip Island.
Cameron Waters was the only Mustang to miss out on the top 10. Thursday night's quickest driver, Jamie Whincup, was left languishing in 18th spot after a late mistake ruined his flying lap.
That means the Red Bull man will again have to face the risk of an early elimination as he must start in Q1.
"The car is good - I must have just clipped the sensor, which here is two laps. You get the lap disqualified and the next one. It's all over," Whincup said.
"The (tyre) pressures go through the roof (after that). You get a second chance here if you don't quite get it right in the first one, but you don't get a third or a fourth.
"It is what it is. We're in Q1, but the car is much faster, but that's the biggest thing. If you've got pace, you can dig your way out of it."
But it was McLaughlin who thrilled on the resurfaced track to install him as the favourite to extend his dominance on the circuit to five consecutive race wins later on Friday evening.
"The car is so good to drive around this place," McLaughlin said.
"It's a great track, we'd just never had any grip. Now we've got grip, we're just throwing it in, it's bloody awesome."