Jamie Whincup has admitted that fourth position in Race 20 at Queensland Raceway was reflective of his pace after de-tuning a car which won on the afternoon prior.
The Red Bull Holden Racing Team driver was third in Armor All Qualifying for Race 20 and held that position through the first stint, then ran second after his first pit stop until being passed on Lap 32 by team-mate Shane van Gisbergen.
Whincup dropped another spot when he was jumped in the lane by Chaz Mostert during the second pit stop cycle, before surviving late-race pressure from Will Davison.
The fourth placing came 24 hours after a win for the seven-time Supercars champion which was a result of a slick opening lap move and strong car pace.
“We made a real small change from yesterday, it slightly de-tuned the car, and everyone else made a really good gain forward,” Whincup told Speedcafe.com.
“I back the engineers for strategy, I think we had the right strategy for where we were in the race; we didn’t have enough car pace, that’s the story of our day.
“We were probably fourth quickest and we ran fourth.”
Despite the backward step on the final day of the Century Batteries Ipswich SuperSprint, Whincup was pleased with the weekend overall, drawing attention to the fact that he and McLaughlin amassed 270 championship points each, beating every other driver.
“We certainly look at Queensland Raceway 2019 (and) put a big tick next to it,” declared Whincup.
“We scored as many points as anyone else and we made big gains with the car, so couldn’t be happier.”
Whincup’s Race 19 victory was in fact his first of the season and just Triple Eight’s third, but its second on the trot after van Gisbergen prevailed in wet conditions in Townsville.
When asked if the performance demonstrated that Triple Eight had closed the gap to Shell V-Power Racing, Whincup responded, “I think so.
“I don’t like making big statements after one round, so I think we need to see what goes on in the next few rounds, although Tailem Bend’s a bit of an outlier as far as tracks go, but I definitely feel we’ve made a gain.
“Morale’s certainly not bad but it’s not as high as it was in its (the team’s) peak, but with a win for SVG last round, a win for me yesterday, and a close P2, they’re starting to get some morale back and things are happy; it can only help.”
Whincup overtook David Reynolds in the championship over the course of the weekend to now occupy fifth position, while van Gisbergen slashed his deficit to second placed Fabian Coulthard from 207 points to 87.
The next event is the OTR SuperSprint at The Bend Motorsport Park on August 23-25.