by James Phelps, The Daily Telegraph
PRODRIVE Racing Australia made it a three-way Supercars fight when Chaz Mostert stunned the field to join DJR Team Penske and the Red Bulls in the tussle at the top.
On a wild day of practice which derailed Craig Lowndes with a tyre blowout, Mostert blasted a Phillip Island practice lap record to show this year's heavyweights that Prodrive was no fading force.
Mostert clocked 1min 29.57sec in his flying Ford to announce himself as another genuine contender to early season big hitters Shane Van Gisbergen and Scott McLaughlin, who rounded out the practice podium.
"The boys gave me an awesome car today," Mostert said.
"We didn't really use a lot of tyres in the first session so there was a bit of a question mark with how we would go in the second session. But we threw some at it and we got a nice banker lap and then had another crack on greens."
Showing good pace since the season start, Mostert is hoping to break through to score Prodrive their first win of the year.
"It is all looking promising for the weekend," he said.
"Certainly there are some areas where we can make some gains so we will go through the data and see what we can come up with."
Mostert fell short of landing a win in Tasmania with a minor mistake costing him a chance at a victory.
"We had good speed there," Mostert said.
"There were a couple of driver errors more than anything that didn't help. This weekend we are looking to fix those areas where driver errors came into it and move forward. At the moment I am feeling pretty good.
"We have done some things to try and fix it. We have looked at car set-up to make me feel a little more comfortable and stop those lockups I have been having. So far so good so hopefully we have fixed those locking issues."
Van Gisbergen rebounded from a blowout to score the second quickest time while his rival McLaughlin led the charge for the V-Power Shells.