Shell Helix Racing [SHR] drivers, Steve Johnson and Max Wilson's determination to finish their season on a high note was obvious right from the outset of this weekend's final round of the 2003 V8 Supercar Championship Series at Eastern Creek [NSW].

Keen to stamp his mark on the VIP Pet Foods Main Event, Johnson roared into action in today's first practice session, launching up to the number two position on only his second lap.

Spending the majority of the session in the top five, Johnson was unperturbed about slipping back to ninth in the final minutes of the session.

"I've got a good car under me this weekend and I reckon we can still find some more speed when it comes to qualifying and racing," said Johnson.

"It's great to roll out of the truck and be competitive right away instead of playing catch up for the weekend; this is what we've been trying to do all year."

Johnson's team mate, Wilson, got off to a slightly slower start, waiting until his seventh lap before posting his first competitive time for the of the session, a 1m 33.918s lap, which saw him peak in third place, before finishing 12th fastest for the session.

The day's second session saw the field shuffle around much more than the first, as drivers traded fast times, and the Shell Helix Falcons jumped up and down the order.

Brazilian ace, Wilson, was not to be outdone by his team-mate twice, and was the fifth fastest entrant in the second practice with his fastest time of the day; a 1m 33.4465s lap.

After a difficult start to the year, both Shell Helix Racing pilots are eager to get some good results and are confident about their chances in the final round.

"We really struggled for the first half of the year, but we started to make some progress after Oran Park," noted Wilson. "My car after that - Sandown, Bathurst, Indy - has been getting better every round.

"Finally the car is getting better and then I've been unlucky in the last couple of races.

"Now, this is the last round and I don't have anything to lose, so I'm going to do the best I can, and hopefully have a good race."

"It would be really good for the team to finish the year on a high and start next season on the right foot," Johnson added.

The 2003 V8 Supercar Championship Series wraps up this weekend in Eastern Creek with the VIP Pet Foods Main Event [round 13], 28 - 30 November.



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