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SVG TAKES OPENING DAY HONOURS

SHANE VAN Gisbergen has taken first blood for this weekend’s opening round of the 2017 Supercars Championship.

The defending Champion took his Red Bull Holden Racing Team Commodore around the Adelaide Parklands track in 1m19.7806s, to snatch best time away from Scott McLaughlin. The two Kiwis traded fastest times in the session and SVG was clear of the DJR Team Penske Ford by 0.0001s – about 10cm over the lap.

“The car was not good this morning but we have really worked on it,” said van Gisbergen.

“It’s not pole yet but we are in the Shootout. They are going really well, we expected them to be, and it is good to have great competition.”

The Ford man was happy in spite of being pipped for best time.

“I was really happy, stoked,” said McLaughlin.

“A start like this is fantastic. I love that one lap and Shane is one of the best in the business. It is going to be hard.”

Rick Kelly backed up his strong Practice form with third fastest in the Nissan Altima, which was particularly impressive. The car required attention between its runs – and Kelly did not elaborate on what – but he was within 0.08s of pole on his second run

Kelly ahead of James Courtney, who continued his great form at the Adelaide track and Chaz Mostert was fifth fastest and best of the Prodrive Racing Australia Fords. Next was Fabian Coulthard in the second DJRTP Ford, Jamie Whincup and Mark Winterbottom – though the six-time champion was only 0.11s from pole.

Cam Waters and David Reynolds were the last two men into the top 10 Shoot Out.

Defending Clipsal 500 winner Nick Percat was the first man to miss the 10, by 0.02s, and Craig Lowndes was 13th. Simona de Silvestro was 24th in her first Qualifying session in Adelaide.

The Shoot Out will take place at midday Saturday, Adelaide time, with the 78-lap race starting at 3:20pm.