Whincup: We had to make up for qualifying shortfall

Jamie Whincup

Jamie Whincup felt a combination of driver and engineer were to blame for his shortcomings in qualifying that prompted a damage limitation drive to fourth in Race 20.

The reigning champion made the most of a slick strategy and strong race pace to haul himself from seventh to fourth in Sunday’s race at Queensland Raceway.

Whincup came through strongly after opting for a long first stint which saw him climb from 13th to less than a car length from third after a thrilling battle with Chaz Mostert (Tickford Racing) in the final laps.

However, his day was ultimately hampered by qualifying where he was 0.3s shy of Triple Eight team-mate and race winner Shane van Gisbergen, who snared a spot on the front row for the race.

Van Gisbergen hailed a huge overnight effort from the team in extracting more pace from his car in qualifying trim.

“We didn’t do a good job (in qualifying),” Whincup told Speedcafe.com.

“I didn’t give the best feedback and we didn’t change the car right. So just a combination between driver and engineer, didn’t get it right in qualifying and we worked all race to try to make up for it.

“(We were) just a car length away from the podium.

“I got a good start, it was good. First good start in the four.

“Had a good strategy and we moved up. We started seventh, finished fourth.

“I think we did a good job (in the race).

“We weren’t the quickest car out there, but we certainly were in the top three, and nothing really major to report.”

Whincup has struggled with his starts in recent races which prompted plenty of changes on his car on Saturday night which rectified the issue, according to the Red Bull Holden Racing Team driver.

His struggles were contrasted by the lightning starts made by van Gisbergen on both Saturday and Sunday thanks to a new bespoke system designed for his car.

“We changed everything and it’s now back to normal which is nice. So, we should be sweet now,” he added.

A pair of fourth place finishes leaves a 451 point gap to championship leader Scott McLaughlin but Whincup says he is not thinking about his title defence.

“It’s a long old year and we’re just trying to enjoy it as much we can, so that’s far from our minds,” he said.

The Supercars Championship heads to New South Wales for the Red Rooster Sydney SuperNight 300 from August 3-4.

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