Cat Racing's Simon Wills earned a spot in his first V8 Supercar Top 15 shoot-out with a dramatic last minute lap in qualifying today.
Wills was in 21st position for much of the session with the Cat machine proving to be unfriendly over the Sandown kerbs.
However, after a last minute front suspension change, Wills pulled out a flier of 1:12.280 around the Melbourne circuit which lifted him to 12th spot.
The Brisbane-based Briggs Motorsport young star will now start his first Top-15 shoot-out at Sandown.
"We really struggled with the car early today, but after making the change towards the end of the session, the Falcon was a lot better," Wills said.
"I was certainly concerned because we couldn't seem to get the speed out of the car that we wanted, but I am very pleased to make the shoot-out.
"That last lap was really tough, but we were able to make up a lot of time."
Having only previously driven at the Sandown circuit in Formula Holden, Wills found the transition to the V8 Supercar quite different.
"The lines you take here in a V8 are really different to the open wheeler, but I seem to have found some improvement," Wills said.
"Certainly, we are not happy with 12th, but considering my times from earlier in the day - the improvement was quite encouraging.
"I am really looking forward to the shoot-out tomorrow. Having never done on before, it will be a totally different set of pressures.
"You only have one lap to get it right and it will be great to get some shoot-out experience before my first full year in 2002."
Holden driver Todd Kelly was the fastest in qualifying today. The V8 Supercar stars will contest the top-15 shoot-out at 10.05am, with the first of the weekend's three races taking place at 2.00pm.
The remaining two 48 laps events will take place on Sunday.
1. - Todd Kelly (Holden) - 1:11.565
2. - Craig Lowndes (Ford) - 1:11.628
3. - Greg Murphy (Holden) - 1:11.679
4. - Mark Skaife (Holden) - 1:11.727
5. - Jason Bright (Holden) - 1:11.798
6. - Paul Radisich (Ford) - 1:11.930
7. - Larry Perkins (Holden) - 1:11.960
8. - Russell Ingall (Holden) - 1:11.980
9. - Steven Richards (Ford) - 1:12.071
10. - Marcos Ambrose (Ford) - 1:12.100
11. - David Besnard (Ford) - 1:12.114
12. - SIMON WILLS (CAT FORD) - 1:12.280
13. - Paul Morris (Holden) - 1:12.299
14. - Steve Ellery (Ford) - 1:12.336
15. - Glenn Seton (Ford) - 1:12.340
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1
9.35am: V8 Warmup
10.05am: Top 15 Shoot-out
2.00pm: V8 Race One