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Shane van Gisbergen fourth in opening practice at Sydney 500

Friday 2 Dec 2016 2:47 p.m.

Shane van Gisbergen (Getty Images)

Shane van Gisbergen (Getty Images)

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Supercars title favourite Shane van Gisbergen's confidence is growing after a smooth opening practice at the season-ending Sydney 500.

Holden's Kiwi driver was fourth fastest in the first of Friday's two sessions around the hot streets of Olympic Park.

He was 0.17 seconds behind Volvo's Scott McLaughlin, who topped the timesheets ahead of Holden Racing Team's James Courtney.

Van Gisbergen's Red Bull Racing teammate and fellow championship contender Jamie Whincup finished third.

Just 191 points separate the pair, with 300 points on offer over the two-race round.

Van Gisbergen said the track was slippery but improved with time.

"It didn't feel very nice at the start - it was quick but not nice to drive," he said.

"Now it's comfortable, we just have to make it a bit quicker."

It was a frustrating start to Mark Winterbottom's final weekend with the No.1 car.

The reigning champion's Ford suffered an electrical issue inside the first few minutes of the session and got limited time on track.

Prodrive Racing teammate Chaz Mostert also had issues early on in the session, as did Nissan pair Dale Wood and Todd Kelly.The day's second and final 40-minute practice begins at 4.15pm (NZ time).

AAP

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