Chaz Mostert believes he is ‘still behind the eight ball’ in regard to extracting the ultimate pace from the Ford Mustang despite achieving ‘fantastic top fives’ at Phillip Island.
Mostert has climbed to third in the championship having scored two fifth place finish at the Victorian circuit as Tickford moved back towards the sharp end of the field after a difficult Symmons Plains.
Phillip Island’s long, fast corners were expected to suit the Mustang although the Tickford Racing Fords were unable to match those of Shell V-Power Racing.
Mostert led the Tickford charge in qualifying third for both races but was 0.3s shy of Fabian Coulthard in qualifying for Race 9 and 0.8s adrift of pole-sitter Scott McLaughlin.
The gap closed in Sunday qualifying but overall the Shell Fords seemed to have the edge on Tickford with engine performance understood to be among the reasons for the deficit.
In the races, Mostert lost ground at the start and was unable to recover to the podium places.
DJR Team Penske completed a one-two in both races while young guns Andre Heimgartner and Anton De Pasquale claimed third on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
After scoring a pair of 10th place finishes in Tasmania, which has proved a bogey track for Tickford, Mostert was pleased to return to the front but says his team still has plenty of work to do.
“Two top fives for the weekend is fantastic, it’s good for points, but I think we’re still behind the eight ball,” said Mostert.
“There’s a lot of work to be done to get where we need to be, we’re leaving a lot of lap time on the board at the moment.
“But it’s nice to get a couple of good finishes and sort of reward the boys for all their hard work the last two weeks.”
While Mostert led the charge on one lap pace, Milwaukee Racing team-mate Will Davison claimed the best result for the team with a fourth in Sunday’s 200km heat.
“Great result, we had a really good race and improved the car from yesterday, so we can’t be too disappointed,” said Davison.
“Obviously it is disappointing when you’re so close to a podium again, but the main thing is we made the car a lot better in race trim.
“The strategy was better, my start was better, so all in all a good race.
“We need to try and understand our cars a little better because we changed a lot of stuff over the weekend, and we clearly still have a bit of work to do for those other Mustangs up the front, but it was a good team effort today.”
Cameron Waters recovered from a retirement on Saturday to finish sixth, while Lee Holdsworth managed results of 14th and 15th from the races.
The squad will head west to Perth next month for the Pirtek Perth SuperNight from May 2-4.