Jamie Whincup says Triple Eight needs to up its game after a disappointing lack of pace saw the Holden driver miss out on direct passage to the second part of qualifying at Phillip Island.
The factory Holden team endured a difficult day at the Victorian circuit with both Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen outpaced in the two 30 minute practice sessions.
The seven-time champion was bumped out of the top 10 that will progress to the second part of Saturday’s Armor All qualifying by team-mate van Gisbergen, while his old car in the hands of Todd Hazelwood was eighth quickest.
Shell V-Power Racing proved the class of the field as Fabian Coulthard headed Scott McLaughlin with the pair enjoying a 0.7s margin over Whincup.
All six Fords ended up in the top 10 while Rick Kelly secured fourth in the Castrol-backed #15 Kelly Racing Altima and Anton De Pasquale was the top Holden driver in seventh.
Whincup left the circuit disappointed having admitted the team had ‘thrown everything’ into Practice 2 to claim a top 10 berth.
“Disappointed. We want to be in the 10, we pushed pretty hard; only a hundredth behind my team-mate so that sucks, he just knocked me out at the end there,” said Whincup.
“It’s the way it goes, we’ll keep fighting on.
“We’ve got Todd Hazelwood up there in my car from last year, those guys are doing a better job than we are at the moment so we’ve got to pull our finger out.
“We are very disappointed with the results as we threw everything into the second practice session to get into the top 10 but we couldn’t do it.
“We rolled out onto the track without having made any gains from the (pre-season) test day.
“Today though, we have genuinely come a long way; from P23 in the first practice to P11 in the second practice.
“This obviously doesn’t change that fact that it’s disappointing having to start the race weekend so far back.
“Unfortunately, we will now be in the first part of qualifying tomorrow which not only means using another set of tyres but we have set ourselves up for a tough day tomorrow.”
Team-mate van Gisbergen only fared marginally better to finish 10th with the Kiwi expecting the team to work ‘extra hard’ overnight to close the gap to the Shell V-Power Racing Fords.
“For us right now, it’s about finding a balance on this track at Phillip Island as it has a lot of high-speed corners and only two low-speed corners,” said van Gisbergen.
“We probably went a little too far for the high-speed corners despite doing well in sectors 1 and 3 but lacked in the middle sector with all the slow speed twisty stuff.
“Obviously, we need to find a balance. There is a massive gap to P1 so no doubt we will be working extra hard tonight trying to find the areas that need improvement.”
The Supercars field will return to the track tomorrow for a 30 minute practice at 1040 AEST before Armor All Qualifying.