Prodrive Racing driver Mark Winterbottom finished the opening day of practice at Pukekohe Park Raceway today pleased with his overall pace after recording the third best time overall.

Following a change to the Bottle-O Racing FG X's for the third and final thirty minute free practice session, Frosty was left with the strong impression that there are even more improvements to be made tonight ahead of tomorrow's two qualifying sessions.

"It was a good day,” he said. “We made gains and losses but we're really in a setup window which is really cool. I had a really fun day so hopefully we can take that speed into tomorrow and if we were racing today we would have had a chance of winning and that's a good feeling. Proud of the team really because the car at the last couple of rounds hasn't quite been there so I'm feeling comfortable again and actually feeling like I'm doing the number one proud so it's good to be back up there."

The category's switch to the hard tyre for the Auckland SuperSprint following Craig Lowndes' blowout on the soft tyre here last year, proved fruitful on the track with 11 drivers, including Winterbottom, setting times under the former practice lap record.