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Coulthard calm after Supercars hiccup

Chaz Mostert topped the time sheets in Townsville. Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images

Ford star Fabian Coulthard isn't dwelling on his last-start nightmare in Townsville despite it costing him top spot in the Supercars championship.

After leading the way since Phillip Island in April, Coulthard finished 10th and 21st in north Queensland to drop to third on the standings behind teammate Scott McLaughlin and Holden ace Jamie Whincup.

The DJR Team Penske driver bounced back on Friday to post the second-fastest time in practice for the weekend's Ipswich SuperSprint event at Queensland Raceway.

Only a practice lap record of one minute and 08.9960 seconds by Ford's Chaz Mostert kept Coulthard from celebrating his 35th birthday at the top of the timesheets.

It was a strong response to the Townsville run but Coulthard (1:09.1059) insisted that was just a bad weekend, nothing more and nothing less.

"Everyone's going to have a bad one at some stage," he said.

"We just have to cop it - we did a lot of learning.

"It's been a long two weeks but we've come back and learnt a lot in that little break. Hopefully, we can build on it and go good from here on in."

Mostert, a two-time winner at Ipswich, said his record lap had come as a bit of a surprise.

"Just put it all together kind of thing," he said.

"When the eight came up, I was pretty shocked; it's not every day you get an eight around QR."

Defending Supercars champion Shane Van Gisbergen was the day's third-quickest driver as he looked to keep pace with the leading trio of McLaughlin, Whincup and Coulthard.

McLaughlin, who holds a slender six-point championship lead over Whincup, could only post the 10th-fastest lap of the day's second 45-minute session but was quickest in the opening practice run.

Whincup finished 20th on the timesheets and admitted he'd mucked up his run on a set of new tyres.

"The car just didn't steer on new tyres, so that's the area we're looking at," he said.

"We're very lucky we've got practice three tomorrow - we'd be in trouble going straight into qualifying.

"We'll just use practice three to get somewhere in the window."

Saturday's action begins with a third practice in the morning before qualifying and a 120km race in the afternoon.

The event wraps up on Sunday with a 200km race.