Andre Heimgartner believes his Kelly Racing team will have more opportunities to fight for wins after the Kiwi recorded his first Supercars pole position.
A call to set a lap time on soft compound tyres early in Qualifying for Race 11 at the Truck Assist Sydney SuperSprint ultimately paid dividends.
In only his fourth competitive outing in the team’s new Ford Mustang, the fifth-year Supercars driver set a time nearly identical to that of Scott McLaughlin’s pole lap for Race 10.
The 25-year-old was undercut by Jack Le Brocq in the 32-lap race and couldn’t fight a way past in the final stanza of the race.
Heimgartner lamented the missed opportunity but said the team can be front-runners.
“When you’re leading a race and the car is as fast as it was, to not win that race is fairly disappointing,” said Heimgartner.
“But in the big picture when you look at how far we’ve come, now we’re half in the game.
“We’ll work on the car and we’re still a step behind on some stuff so if we work that out I’m sure we’ll get the opportunity again.
“The podium is a very good thing because I would have put the whole race together, but pole was one of the best things,” he added.
“We had some great guys on softs as well so to have the car speed to be in front of them was really good.
“Good work to Jack’s crew, they just out-did us in the pits, our guys did their best and it’s a long way from where we were last round.”
Heimgartner was among those to sacrifice Saturday’s sole night race running two sets of hard compound tyres to put himself in a competitive position for Sunday’s double.
Despite the likes of Scott McLaughlin and Jamie Whincup being absent from the battle at the front, Heimgartner said it didn’t take the shine off the result.
“Everyone has an equal opportunity coming into the weekend, it puts more emphasis on keeping calm throughout the weekend,” Heimgartner said of the tyre strategy.
“It probably doesn’t have that golden glisten, the same as battling it out with McLaughlin at the front but we had a better strategy that got us faster in that race.
“We did a better job and that’s just how it was. I don’t think it takes the shine away from it. Jack’s still got a win on his board and we’re still on the podium.”
The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship returns with back-to-back rounds at Hidden Valley Raceway on August 8-9 and 15-16.