T8 focussed on reeling in Penske advantage

Tom Howard

Sunday 7th May, 2017 - 3:23pm

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Triple Eight are focussed on reeling in DJR Team Penske

Triple Eight remains confident it has the pace to close the gap to DJR Team Penske at the Perth Super Sprint today after making a miscalculation in Saturday’s encounter.

The Queensland powerhouse team were left trailing in the wake of Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard’s Shell backed Fords, who scored a commanding one-two finish in Race 7 at Barbagallo Raceway.

Triple Eight team boss Mark Dutton says the squad’s lack of pace was the result of an error in its plan for the 120km race.

The operation determined a lap time for its drivers to drive to, ensuring its tyre life wasn’t too badly affected by the abrasive Barbagallo Raceway surface.

However, Dutton admits the lap time was too conservative but is unsure if his cars would have had the speed to match the DJRTP Fords.

Jamie Whincup finished third more then seven seconds shy of McLaughlin, while Shane van Gisbergen was fourth and Craig Lowndes came home seventh.

“We decided a lap time and I think we were a bit conservative,” Dutton told Speedcafe.com.

“I think we could have gone faster. You can never say if we could have matched DJR Team Penske we don’t have those answers, but 100 percent we could have gone quicker.

“Collectively we determined on a lap time to drive to but it was too slow.

“They (DJRTP) were aggressive early and it paid off for sure.”

Dutton maintains his squad are not beginning to panic about the gap to DJRTP and is confident they can close the deficit.

“They (DJRTP) are beatable. In Race 7 we should have been much closer,” Dutton added.

“I don’t think we need to be drastic at all.

“We haven’t done a job that we can put our hands up and say we have made every decision right for a couple of races now.

“When you execute and you are still beaten, that’s when you really start looking.

“There is more in ourselves whether it is set-up or strategy or a combination of them all, we haven’t maximised what we have got to our usual standard.”

Van Gisbergen will start fourth, Whincup sixth and Lowndes 18th in today’s final heat of the Perth Super Sprint, which is scheduled to begin at 1415 local time.