Team Vortex driver Craig Lowndes was the quickest man on the Pukekohe Raceway with five minutes to go in the final free practice session of the penultimate race weekend for 2016.

However drivers soon poured onto the circuit and set about posting some blistering times, knocking Craig all the way back to twelfth place.

Despite his position, Lowndsey is more than happy with the way the car behaved, as well as making allowances for the now full time partnership with his new Race Engineer, John McGregor, or Irish as he is affectionately known.

"It's been a very productive day," he said on the team's official website. "Obviously coming into this weekend working with Irish full-time was going to be a bit of a challenge, but also exciting and I think we made a lot of progress through the day, not only with the car, but also for us and the communication. We're really pleased with where we ended up and the car is quite nice to drive."

"We looked at the car for both qualifying and the races, and I think we're really comfortable where we're at. Although it's sprint races over the weekend, tyre life is still going to be very important and I'm happy with where we're at on that side. For qualifying we need to find probably a tenth or two to be closer to the front. Irish and I will sit down tonight and try to clean up my driving style a bit, as well as the car."