Waters leads the way in practice
YOUNG gun Cam Waters has overcome his Bathurst heartbreak to upstage his big-name rivals on the opening day of the Gold Coast 600.
Waters was fastest in practice on the sun-soaked streets of Surfers Paradise on Friday in his attempt to bounce back from a devastating Bathurst 1000.
The Tickford Racing ace finished ahead of Red Bull stars Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup in what was an impressive display ahead of Saturday's opening 300km endurance race.
Stream the 2019 Vodafone Gold Coast 600. Live & Ad-Break Free During Racing on KAYO SPORTS. Get your 14-day free trial and start streaming instantly >
Waters was one of many heartbreak stories at Mount Panorama earlier this month after being taken out of the race by teammate Chaz Mostert.
Waters was running third on lap 123 when he was run off course and into a sand trap by Mostert, leaving his garage and viewers stunned.
Waters, 25, is sitting seventh in the championship without a race win in 2019 and said standing on top of the podium today would be an incredible way to bounce back.
"It'd be pretty special to bounce back after what happened at Bathurst," he said.
"We could have had two cars on the podium at Bathurst.
"To bounce back this weekend and get the team some surfboards (trophies) would be great.
"We've got to move on, this is the sport we're in, s*** happens sometimes."
The final practice session was bizarrely held up when water overflowed from a hose on to the track, sending multiple cars within c
entimetres of the concrete at high speed.
When the session resumed it was Waters that upstaged his rivals, becoming the only driver to break the 1min10sec barrier in perfect conditions.
Waters was fastest with 1:09.95 ahead of Red Bull's Shane Van Gisbergen (1:10.04) and Jamie Whincup (1:10.09).
Championship leader Scott McLaughlin finished seventh (1:10.30) after being repeatedly penalised for kerb-hopping.
"I was trying too hard," McLaughlin said.
"Today is the day to have a crack and see where you can take it.
"The car is really good. I'm really happy with it.
"I just need to tone my driving down a little bit."
After his controversial Bathurst win, McLaughlin holds a 622-point lead at the top of the championship standings with three rounds to go.
He can wrap up back-to-back titles as early as today if he finishes in the top three of the first 300km race and Van Gisbergen fails to finish.
It would be a record-breaking performance if McLaughlin wraps up the title this weekend.
The earliest a championship has been won, since its current format was introduced in 2008, was in the penultimate rounds by Jamie Whincup in 2012 and 2014.
Van Gisbergen has already conceded he is racing for second in the back end of the year and it is only a matter of time before McLaughlin is crowned champion.