Sirromet Wines Holden Commodore driver Paul Morris continued his recent form surge by leading his team to fourth fastest overall position in today's opening two practice sessions for the Betta Electrical Sandown 500 V8 Supercar Championship endurance race in Melbourne on Sunday.

Morris, who is contesting the ninth round of the championship with John Faulkner as team-mate, was tenth quickest in the first practice session with a best lap of 1 minute 12.486 second around the 3.1km circuit.

In the second practice session the 35-year-old Gold Coast driver was third fastest with an improved lap time of 1m 11.702s in his VY Commodore, powered by a Holden Motorsport engine. He set the time on his final lap of the session on a new set of Dunlop control tyres.

Morris' best lap time in the second practice left his team fourth overall among the 35 two-man combinations who participated in the two sessions. The Mark Skaife-Todd Kelly team clocked the quickest lap in the two practices with 1m 11.496s in a Holden Racing Team Commodore in the second session.

The Sirromet Wines Commodore did a total of 50 laps in the two sessions, with Morris doing the bulk of the driving.

"There's less than half-a-second between the top 10 so it looks like a close race on Sunday," commented Morris, "We spent most of the day working on improving our race set-up, but at the end of the second session I put some new tyres on to see what sort of time the car could do. I was baulked on my best lap, but the time was still okay. Overall we're about 80-percent there with setting up the car.

"We made several changes to the springs and 'shocks' and improved the front-end grip. However, we need to get the power down better because the car isn't as consistent as I'd like. The plan tomorrow is to qualify in the top 10 to get into the Shoot Out, like the last couple of races, and go hard on Sunday."

Faulkner, who is making his debut for the team at Sandown, drove 13 laps in the two sessions. He added: "Today was all about Paul chasing the car set-up, which is fine because in all honesty I don't need a lot of laps around here. My role is to get comfortable in the car on full tanks and so forth.

"Everything is ticking along, although we would both like better power down coming onto the straights. The thing I noticed was it's hard to get a clean lap in because of all the traffic. A few guys were spearing off and there was quite a lot of debris and oil on the track."