Paul Morris fastest in practice for V8 Supercar Championship

Sirromet Wines Holden Commodore driver Paul Morris continued his improved form in this year's V8 Supercar Championship when he emerged fastest at Oran Park today in the opening practice session for the eighth round on Sunday.

Morris clocked the best lap time of 1-min 9.239-secs around the 2.6km Sydney circuit in practice. The 35-year-old, who suffered serious back injuries when his car exploded in flames after a start-line crash at Oran Park in 2000, finished 0.518-secs clear of second-fastest Todd Kelly, who was followed by Holden Racing Team Commodore team-mate and defending series champion Mark Skaife.

The Oran Park round is Morris' second race appearance in his new VY Commodore, built at his team's Gold Coast headquarters and powered by a Holden Motorsport engine. He finished a season-best fourth when he raced the car for the first time in the previous round at Queensland Raceway on July 20, after qualifying third.

Morris set his quickest lap time in practice today on his 36th and final lap of the session. He was in the top five throughout the session. Qualifying will be held tomorrow, with a 300km race on Sunday.

PAUL MORRIS QUOTES: "The new VY (Commodore) has made a big difference, as we saw in Queensland, and now here. It's good to get into something you know will be on the pace. We did some testing on Tuesday and it's improved the power delivery. Today we made some changes to the front and rear springs, and the 'shocks', and that's made the car more comfortable to drive. Our only problem is lacking some front-end grip in the slow corners, so we'll work on trying to fix that tomorrow. My best lap wasn't just a 'one-off'. We did consistent times right through the session. If we can keep finding more car speed there's no reason why we can't be on the podium on Sunday. It's a credit to our team that we've been able to design and build such a good car." <pre> RESULTS -- PRACTICE: POS DRIVERS CAR TIME 1. Paul Morris Sirromet Wines Holden Commodore 1:09.239 2. Todd Kelly Holden Racing Team Commodore 1:09.757 3. Mark Skaife Holden Racing Team Commodore 1:09.761 4. Steven Richards Castrol Perkins Holden Commodore 1:09.771 5. Jason Bright Team Brock Holden Commodore 1:09.868 6. Glenn Seton Ford Performance Racing Falcon 1:09.951 7. John Bowe OzEmail Ford Falcon 1:10.005 8. Paul Weel Team Brock Holden Commodore 1:10.016 9. Marcos Ambrose Pirtek Ford Falcon 1:10.828 10. Craig Baird Team Kiwi Holden Commodore 1:10.267