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Skaife tops qualifying to grab provisional pole

The defending and five-times Bathurst champion continued to flaunt his superior speed in the No.2 Holden Racing Team Commodore with a time of two minutes 06.9764 seconds - narrowly missing Greg Murphy's 2003 record of 2:06.8594.

Such is Skaife's early dominance at the event his time was well clear of his nearest rival - Ford's Jason Bright.

Sandown 500 winner Bright, in the CAT Ford Performance Racing Falcon, posted a late flyer to slip into second position with a 2:07.0967.

Rick Kelly in the HSV Dealer Commodore clocked the third quickest time of 2:07.6780 while Jason Richards in the Tasman Motorsport Commodore was fourth best in 2:07.6922.

Richards had missed all of yesterday's practice session when co-driver Andrew Jones slammed into the wall on the second lap of the day and the team spent the entire afternoon carrying out repairs rather than tinkering with car mechanics.

Greg Murphy, Russell Ingall, Craig Lowndes, Steven Richards, Dean Canto and Steven Johnson completed the top ten drivers respectively.

There are six Holden and four Ford teams in the top ten. The final grid positions for Sunday's 161-lap race will be determined in tomorrow afternoon's top ten shootout.

AAP

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