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SVG tops eventful Supercars practice in SA

They were warned they would be driven around The Bend.

Still, it came as a surprise on Friday when Supercars series leader Scott McLaughlin "looked like a Gumby" as some of the biggest names came unstuck at the category's newest track - The Bend in South Australia.

Holden gun Shane van Gisbergen - one of only a handful of drivers to have competed at the remote track - delivered an ominous warning before practice, saying rivals would be "caught out" by the Tailem Bend circuit, an hour outside Adelaide.

But it seems nothing could quite prepare them for their first taste of the $110 million circuit.

Ford gun McLaughlin was among those who ran off the track in opening practice before seven-time series champion Jamie Whincup and Holden legend Craig Lowndes were the high profile scalps in Friday's second 45-minute session.

When the dust settled - literally - on Friday's practice, fastest overall was van Gisbergen who used inside knowledge to clock a lap of one minute, 48.74 seconds in front of 8450 fans.

Van Gisbergen - who enjoyed a Tailem Bend track stint at April's Australian GT race - was more than half a second faster than nearest rival Whincup, who recovered from an eventful day.

Holden's local hope Tim Slade third quickest.

Van Gisbergen trails series leader McLaughlin by just 89 points after winning three of the last four races but was unsure of where he stood at The Bend despite his dominance late in the day.

"I raced here a couple of months ago ...(but) I am very unsure of what is happening when I turn in," van Gisbergen said.

"There's no way this is a genuine representation of where everyone is. So many people made mistakes but I think it will tighten up tomorrow."

The Bend is making its Supercars debut and certainly lived up to its name, featuring 18 turns on the 4.95km track - not that any of the drivers had to be reminded.

Whincup may be an official ambassador for the venue but was given no favours, spearing off the track during second practice before Lowndes found the dirt several times including twice on the same lap.

Lowndes finished second last in the 28-strong field in the second session.

The signs were ominous in the opening session when McLaughlin was one of the big-name victims, coming off at several turns to finish 18th fastest.

"It was loose. I had so many offs. I looked like a Gumby," McLaughlin laughed.

"It (track) is like X Games."

The Bend is the first permanent track unveiled on the Supercars circuit since Ipswich's Queensland Raceway in 1999.

The Bend SuperSprint maiden round opens with a 120km race on Saturday before Sunday's 200km finale.