Brad Jones Racing driver Nick Percat says his team has got its one-lap speed sorted, but needs “another chunk” to convert pole position into another Supercars win.
Percat surrendered the lead of the race to Red Bull Holden Racing Team driver Shane van Gisbergen on Lap 7 after running side-by-side down to Turn 1.
Van Gisbergen, who had started the race from fourth, went on to dominate the 39-lap race to win by eight seconds over nearest rival Scott McLaughlin.
The Shell V-Power Racing Team driver was followed by van Gisbergen’s team-mate Whincup.
Meanwhile, Percat faded to fourth after he ran long on his first set of tyres and pitted on Lap 20 while the likes of van Gisbergen, McLaughlin, and Whincip pitted several laps earlier.
The R&J Batteries backed driver said the team needs to find “another chunk” to convert his one-lap pace into a race win.
“The expectation changes pretty quickly; slap it on pole, beat the bloke off the line comfortably and you’re thinking ‘this could be alright,’” said Percat.
“But I knew pretty early that we wouldn’t have the long game like Shane and the others on the podium.
“It’s close. We’ve ticked the box in qualifying, we’ve got that a bit better but we’ve been tuning the race car hard since last week so we’ve closed the gap but we need another chunk.”
Brad Jones Racing team-mate Todd Hazelwood had struggles of his own.
The Black Duck SeatCovers Racing driver was on course for a seventh place finish until a pit lane infringement resulted in a 15-second penalty and relegated him to 14th.
The 24-year-old had been as high as third on the road on corrected order, but faded after the team opted to give him two tyres and save his best set for the final race.
Hazelwood will start Race 24 from pole position with Percat alongside him.
“As soon as I dropped and started loading up the clutch, I felt that the pit limiter wasn’t on so for whatever reason she’s turned herself off when the car’s gone up in the air,” said Hazelwood.
“It was a bit of rude shock and I got it on straight away but unfortunately we got a penalty.
“We need four tyres (in the next race). We only put two on then and the fronts were burning.
“We had our work cut out then but we’re strategising to make sure we’ve got all the boots ready to go for the final one.”
The final race in the Robson Civil Projects Townsville SuperSprint starts at 14:40 local time/AEST.