James Courtney and Shane van Gisbergen were unable to break into the top-ten shootout after qualifying for the non-championship V8 Supercar Manufacturers Challenge in Melbourne.

Courtney battled with a bent roll bar in the first practice session which was a remnant of his race three incident at Eastern Creek last weekend. With repairs completed during the break, the JELD-WEN Motorsport driver was back on the pace in qualifying, jumping straight into the top five on his opening laps.

Courtney was on target to cement his place inside the top ten until a red flag stopped the session and he was forced to abandon his flying lap. The break caused the JELD-WEN Motorsport team to miss its window on new tyres, sending Courtney down the order to 13th position.

"The JELD-WEN Falcon was all wrong in that first practice today," he said. "Once we got back to the garage we found we had a bent roll bar courtesy of our race three incident at Eastern Creek. It was a wasted session for us.

"There was a huge improvement in the car in qualifying; we were straight up into the top five. We threw on a set of new tyres and had the fastest splits when the red flag came out; that pretty much ruined our chances of being up there.

"The nature of the Albert Park circuit and the heat means that the tyres are at their best on the first lap and we missed that window."

After a hectic introduction to the 5.3km circuit in the 30 minute practice session, van Gisbergen put his head down in qualifying to improve on his practice time and claimed 14th position.

"That first practice today was a pretty hectic learning session," he said. "You hope that you will make a big improvement in the next session and we were able to do that today.

"Out of every corner here you accelerate into another corner and you have to get the power down. We started to do that and got faster and faster through every sector. That will continue over the weekend. It's really hot out there. The races this weekend are only short but the heat is going to make it very tough."

 

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