Kiwi duo make bright start in NZ Supercars practice

Championship contenders Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard have made a fast start to this weekend's Supercars event in New Zealand.

McLaughlin gave some early cheer for the Pukekohe Park Raceway fans, clocking a one minute and 02.7153 seconds fastest lap at today's opening practice session.

Fellow New Zealander Coulthard was second on the timesheets with a 1:02.8831.

Championship leader Jamie Whincup clocked the third-fastest time of the session with a 1:02.9404.

The trio are separated by a total of 27 points in the championship standings heading into this weekend's penultimate event of the season.

Ford's Chaz Mostert and Holden's Shane Van Gisbergen are the other drivers in contention for this year's title but could only manage the 11th and 19th fastest times of the session.

The opening practice on the resurfaced Pukekohe track featured several drivers coming unstuck.

Coulthard and McLaughlin both had a spin in the grass at the 2.91km circuit's hairpin while Holden's Aaren Russell caused a brief pause in the session when he got stuck in a gravel trap at turn one.

Jack Perkins, driving the Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport Holden after the team parted ways with Alex Rullo earlier in the week, made early contact with a wall after running wide and finished the session dead last on the timesheets.

Today's action wraps up with a second practice run from 3.10pm.

SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN / ALEXANDRE PREMAT (Shell Penske Ford). Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000. 2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Round 11. Mount Panorma, Bathurst NSW 8 October 2017. Photo Clay Cross /
Kiwi driver Scott McLaughlin in action for Ford at Mount Panorama, Bathurst. Source: Photosport