Craig Lowndes is confident that Red Bull can match the pace of Prodrive’s Fords after pushing championship leader Mark Winterbottom all the way in Race 19.
Falling short by less than one second to Winterbottom, Lowndes gained reassurance that the Commodore is more than a match for the Falcon.
Lowndes’ performance, while falling just short of arresting Winterbottom’s winning form which has stretched to four consecutive races, has diluted the intense parity debate which has raged this season.
“Everyone has been talking about the Falcon and the advantage over everyone else,” Lowndes said.
“I think the race today shows we’ve lifted our game and we can match these guys now.
“Prodrive have been doing a fantastic job all season. It’s a credit to them.
“We lifted and it shows we can run with the Falcons.”
Lowndes acknowledged that the Red Bull machines are still falling short on outright pace on the hard compound Dunlop rubber, which will be used for qualifying for tomorrow’s 65-lap encounter.
“Our hard tyre is not as good as our soft tyre speed and we know we’ve got to qualify on a hard tyre,” Lowndes cautioned.
“We are working on the areas the car is not (good) so it’s something we will look at tonight and try and fix and rectify.”
Lowndes started Race 19 from pole position but allowed Winterbottom to sneak into the lead into Turn 2, a position which the Ford man did not relinquish over the 20-lap journey.
Winterbottom though admitted that he needed to pull out qualifying-style laps to keep Lowndes at bay.
“He was quicker and was hustling me the whole race,” Winterbottom said.
“Thankfully I just held on because the last couple of laps were getting intense and he ran off the track and gave me a bit of a breather.
“I’m ‘qualifying braking’ every lap to try and hold him (Lowndes) out. He’s going 10m deeper than me and it’s intense.”
VIDEO: Team wrap