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Extra motivation for Triple Eight to perform in Perth

Tom Howard

Saturday 27th April, 2019 - 6:00am

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Triple Eight and in particular Jamie Whincup straggled for pace last time out at Phillip Island

Triple Eight has extra motivation to perform at the Pirtek Perth SuperNight as it aims to bounce back from a poor showing at Phillip Island, according to team manager Mark Dutton. 

The factory Holden squad was surprisingly off the pace at the Victorian circuit last time out in what turned out to be a rare difficult weekend for the reigning teams’ champions.

Outright pace seemed to evade Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup who found themselves adrift of the front running pack while Triple Eight’s pace overall was slower than what it displayed at the venue 12 months ago. 

A sixth from van Gisbergen in Race 9 proved the squad’s best result. 

In the opposite side of the garage, Whincup, who struggled for speed and car balance, suffered a horror weekend with a retirement due to a loose wheel followed by lacklustre run to 12th in Race 10.

It left team owner Roland Dane to suggest that the #88 side of the garage needed to take a long hard look at themselves.

Since then, the squad has undergone a longer than normal debrief last week to understand where it went wrong at Phillip Island.

Dutton described the post mortem as ‘positive’ in understanding the slump in form, with the focus on bouncing back at Perth rather than ‘finger pointing’.

“You are always motivated going to every circuit, but definitely there is always extra motivation if you’re coming off the back of a thumping,” Dutton told Speedcafe.com.

“You need to rectify that, put your best foot forward. 

“It was a good debrief; obviously after any weekend where you didn’t perform where you wanted to, it went longer, as you’d expect. 

“But everything was positive, and it’s never about blaming or finger pointing. 

“It’s always about trying to understand why we couldn’t get the car to perform at the level that we should’ve been able to.

“You can never be sure because you’re not at the track to then test it, because at the time you’re obviously putting a lot of thought in and trying things. 

“But definitely we think we’ve found some of the reasons, or things we would’ve done different (at Phillip Island).

“We went on long about obviously the weekend, but then we also had spent a fair bit of time talking towards Perth.”

Next weekend sees the Supercars field do battle under lights with the added challenge of a brand new high grip track surface to adapt to at Barbagallo Wanneroo Raceway.

Dutton predicts the new asphalt, that replaces the circuit’s particularly abrasive surface, will see teams attack the event differently.

“It’ll be interesting from the drivers’ perspective, definitely from an engineering perspective you will attack it very, very differently, because Perth was pretty much one of, if not the highest deg(radation) circuit we go to, so you set the whole car up around that,” he added.

“Now, our Supercar hasn’t been around it, but listening to different people who have been around there, everyone could be much more aggressive you would think, with their set-ups. 

“So that can also lead to people being too aggressive and having tyre issues. But also usually a new surface does give you a bit more freedom to go aggressive, to go hard.” 

The Pirtek Perth SuperNight begins on Thursday with opening practice under lights scheduled to begin at 1840 local time. 

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