Ash Walsh emerged as the surprise pace-setter from the fourth and final V8 Supercars practice session in Darwin.
The Erebus driver rocketed to the top of the times three minutes before the end of the 15-minute session, a soft tyre run resulting in a 1m06.353s.
That lap was enough to hold out Fabian Coulthard, who was P2 by just 0.012s.
“We’re about eight tenths faster than we were yesterday on the same set of tyres,” Walsh explained. “Overnight we had a re-think, and significantly improved it.”
Shane van Gisbergen was third fastest, ahead of another surprise performer David Wall. The Volvo driver actually caused a red flag six minutes into the session after nudging the tyre bank at Turn 10, but got back on track and went fourth fastest with a 1m06.481s right at the flag.
The four Prodrive Racing Australia-run cars were next, Andre Heimgartner leading Chaz Mostert, David Reynolds, and championship leader Mark Winterbottom.
Holden drivers James Courtney and Dale Wood rounded out the Top 10.
Wall wasn’t the only Volvo driver to find the tyres at Turn 10; Scott McLaughlin went off at the same spot later in the session, hitting the tyres significantly harder. He was just 15th fastest at the time.
Triple Eight had a quiet session, Jamie Whincup 24th fastest, while Craig Lowndes – who won his 100th race yesterday – was 22nd.