A relatively quiet showing from the new ZB Commodore at Phillip Island should dampen any concerns over parity in Supercars, according to Triple Eight team manager Mark Dutton.
The brand new hatchback ZB enjoyed a dominant start to life in Supercars, Holden drivers winning seven of the eight races heading into the Phillip Island weekend.
However for the first time this season it wasn't the ZB that set the ultimate pace last weekend. Rather it was the Falcon FG-X package from DJR Team Penske that had the outright speed advantage, Scott McLaughlin taking both poles and both race wins.
In contrast, there was just two ZBs in the top five of the final classification on Saturday, while David Reynolds was the sole Holden runner in the top five on Sunday.
Much of the Holden fleet was outclassed by the front-running Nissans as well, Rick Kelly finishing second on Saturday and third on Sunday, while Michael Caruso chipped in with a fifth on Sunday as well.
The lack of pace from there ZB, since blamed on set-up woes, came as somewhat as a surprise given how aero-reliant the fast, flowing Phillip Island layout is, and how aero efficient the new Holden is considered to be.
According to Dutton, whose Triple Eight outfit led the design, development, and homologation of the ZB, the tough weekend for the Holden disproves what he calls a 'rubbish' parity argument.
"It’s one of those things, we knew the whole time that it didn’t have an advantage," he said.
"All of the bodywork and all of that was smoke and mirrors. It was rubbish."
Dutton added that he didn't blame the other teams for leaning on the parity angle to help get parts re-homologated, such as the new lightweight panels hastily introduced by the Ford and Nissan teams between Adelaide and the Australian Grand Prix.
"That’s their job, that’s your job to try and play on things and ride a bit of hype to get some things through for their cars," he explained.
"The Ford and Nissan teams played that game really well.
"Because we had the data for the new car and the data of our old car, we knew there was no advantage. There was no parity issues and this weekend probably reiterated that to everyone.
"Especially the time difference from McLaughlin to these cars."
Reynolds, who led the way for the Holden teams after a radical set-up change for Sunday's race, agreed that the Phillip Island weekend was a good advertisement for parity in the category.
He also joked that rivals couldn't help themselves putting the ZB's pace down to an aero advantage, rather than the leading Holden outfits simply doing a good job.
"I still think the Ford has the better front aero. Ours might have a bit more rear," he said.
"Everyone's got their strengths. [On Sunday] there was Holden-Ford-Nissan on the podium, [on Saturday] it was Holden-Ford-Nissan.
"Parity is pretty good in this category.
"Some would say otherwise, though. It's the same old story. Everyone behind me can't drive for shit, everyone in front of me cheats.
"No one can admit that some people are just doing a better job. Like I said, everyone in front of me cheats, that’s just the easy box to tick. They’re cheating, must be.
"It’s just motorsport, it’s how it is. It’s been like that my whole life. No one can just admit, ‘yeah, they’re doing a good job’."