Ford star's fast start in Supercars return

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After over 100 days in hiatus, Ford driver Anton De Pasquale has burst out of the blocks as the Supercars championship begins a frenzied month of racing at Sydney Motorsport Park.

The Shell V-Power star was the fastest driver in both of Friday's practice sessions ahead of this weekend's Sydney SuperNight event - the first of four straight weekends of racing at the venue.

Having topped the timesheets in the opening session, De Pasquale left it late under lights in the evening practice run before clocking a one minute and 28.8064 second fastest lap.

He was the only driver to go under one minute and 29 seconds in the half-hour session, with Red Bull Ampol Racing pair Jamie Whincup and Shane Van Gisbergen the second and third-fastest drivers.

"They don't hand out trophies for Friday practice," De Pasquale told Fox Sports.

"Obviously we've learned a lot about the car and what we need to do but tomorrow, it looks like the weather is going to change up a fair bit.

"Three months on the bench, so to roll out and drive a car again is fun.

"To be fastest is even better. So it's all good."

Championship leader Van Gisbergen could only post the day's third-fastest time with Whincup's 1:29.0415 marginally better than his best lap (1:29.3812).

The New Zealander holds a healthy 276-point lead over seven-time champion Whincup heading into a busy back end of the season.

This weekend's races are the first of four consecutive events at Sydney Motorsport Park before the season wraps up with the Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama in December.

De Pasquale lies sixth on the standings in his first campaign with Dick Johnson Racing following the exit of three-time champion Scott McLaughlin as well as billionaire team owner Roger Penske.

The 26-year-old claimed his first victory with the team at The Bend in South Australia in May and has also claimed four pole positions this year.

"Jamie's a bit ahead but then Anton's a fair way up the road again," Van Gisbergen said.

"We've got work to do, but yeah, it's not too bad.

"I think we're pretty good."

It was a mixed return to the track for top drivers Cameron Waters and Chaz Mostert.

Waters, who was second-fastest in the opening session, could only post the 11th-fastest lap in session two while Mostert was sixth in P2.

Saturday's action starts with qualifying and a top 10 shootout in the afternoon before a 32-lap race under lights in the evening.

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