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Triple Eight looking into Lowndes qualifying form

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Triple Eight looking into Lowndes qualifying form
By:
May 25, 2017, 2:56 AM

Triple Eight team manager Mark Dutton says his squad will be looking into how to help Craig Lowndes turn around his poor qualifying form.

Craig Lowndes, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Craig Lowndes, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Craig Lowndes, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Craig Lowndes, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Craig Lowndes, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Craig Lowndes, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Craig Lowndes, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Craig Lowndes, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Craig Lowndes, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden

The veteran superstar, who recently signed a two-year contract extension that will see him stay in a Triple Eight Commodore until at least the end of 2019, has struggled in qualifying so far this season.

He has started from a single-digit grid slot just four times out of 10 races, the best being P6 on Saturday in Tasmania. But he hasn’t even gone close to troubling the Top 10 in the last three qualifying sessions, with 18th on Sunday in Perth, 19th on Saturday at Winton, and 26th for Sunday’s Winton race.

While on two of those occasions he recovered sublimely to finish inside the first 10, Dutton says the team is still very keen on rectifying whatever it is that is causing the poor qualifying performances.

“You can have momentum in the right direction, but it’s looks like there’s a bit of momentum [in the wrong direction], unfortunately, not getting clean runs and things like that,” said Dutton when asked by Motorsport.com about Lowndes’s performances.

“We know how fast ‘CL’ can be, he doesn’t drive through the field by accident. But we do need to see how we can help that along because he shouldn’t be qualifying down there; we know he’s better than that, and we definitely know the car’s better than that because the other two showed what the cars can do.

“And there’s no tangible difference across the cars, so it’s just nailing that.”

While the two Red Bull-backed Triple Eight Holdens haven’t struggled in qualifying to the same extent as Lowndes, the team is still failing to match DJR Team Penske in terms of one-lap pace.

The Penske Fords have taken seven of the 10 poles on offer so far this season, including the last six on the bounce.

After winning last Sunday van Gisbergen bemoaned that Penske’s Scott McLaughlin could comfortably take pole with a ‘shitty’ lap, and Dutton says the most confusing part is that the Triple Eight Commodores actually feel like they’re working well over a lap, but the time just isn’t coming.

“Sometimes the drivers are coming in and saying how good the car feels, and that’s a difficult one,” said Dutton.

“You prefer them to tell you, ‘man, it’s just an understeering pig,’ and then you’ve got a clear target.

“But that’s been some of the difficulties, that it’s felt too good for the pace and they constantly say if there wasn’t someone beating you, you’d feel like you’re supposed to be at the top of the timesheets.

“It’s almost like it’s been clicking too well to not have the results in quali, so it’s a funny one.”

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About this article

Series Supercars
Drivers Craig Lowndes
Teams Triple Eight Race Engineering
Author Andrew van Leeuwen