Triple Eight is ‘very close’ to unlocking the Holden ZB Commodore’s qualifying potential from ‘the pond it is fishing in’, according to team manager Mark Dutton.
The factory Holden team has been making strides to improve its one lap pace having struggled to match, in particular, the Shell V-Power Racing Ford Falcon of championship leader Scott McLaughlin.
Street circuits and Tasmania’s Symmons Plains circuit have suited the ZB Commodore resulting in pole positions at the venues.
The squad saw glimpses of its recent pole success at Townsville translate to conventional circuits with Shane van Gisbergen qualifying on the front row last time out at Queensland Raceway.
However, the performance only arrived after the team poured its resources into finding solutions to its pace shortfall after qualifying outside of the top six for the Saturday race.
Dutton believes his squad are closing in on the set-up sweet spot for its cars having now identified the correct development path.
“Definitely very close (to getting on top of qualifying), and the pond we’re fishing in has got some pretty big fish,” Dutton told Speedcafe.com.
“When we get it right, you know Townsville we got it right on Shane’s car, and you saw he was two tenths ahead of his closest competitor who was Jamie (Whincup).
“We didn’t quite catch the marlin in the pond, but we do believe it’s there so we’re fishing a new pond, we’re trying to develop, we’re trying to move forward, so there’s so much potential there.
“We’ve got to unlock it.”
Van Gisbergen has noticed the improvements constantly being made to the cars in qualifying trim.
“We are making a lot of inroads. Qualifying at Townsville was very competitive and then at Ipswich on the Sunday we showed we can get it right although on the Saturday we didn’t,” van Gisbergen told Speedcafe.com.
“I think we are understanding where we are lacking with our tuning with the car set-up.
“Now we need to do it every week but the signs are promising. It was pretty average by ur standards in the previous rounds aI think we have stepped it up.
“We are working together and the three cars are all trying different things but we are all on the same page.
“We have no issues with our race pace so if we can start up front we can take it to anyone.”
Qualifying will once again be under the spotlight at this weekend’s Red Rooster Sydney SuperNight 300 which sees a return to knockout format.
Track position is likely to be crucial with a valuable 300 points on offer to the winner of the 300km race at Sydney Motorsport Park.