Aero playing to McLaughlin's strength – van Gisbergen
Shane van Gisbergen says the current aero package has turned Supercars into a "qualifying series', which plays to rival Scott McLaughlin's key strength.
Aero has been a hot topic in the Supercars paddock in recent seasons, with dirty air becoming an increasingly common complaint from drivers since mid-way through last year.
Both the Ford Mustang and the Holden Commodore had their aero re-homologated over the off-season in a bid to drop downforce figures, however it's made little difference in door-to-door combat, top drivers saying it's as hard as ever to follow cars earlier this year.
While aggressive tyre regulations have produced some good racing since the resumption of the season in late June, particularly when The Bend's longer International layout was in use last weekend, van Gisbergen says it's merely a mask for ongoing aero problems.
Citing his inability to run down McLaughlin in today's opener on the shorter Bend layout, despite having fresher rubber for the second stint, he says Supercars has become a "qualifying series", which plays straight into the Penske driver's hands.
"Everyone hates harping on about it, it's been talked about enough this year, but it's aero wash, it's a low-deg track, and Scotty's good at placing his car in the right place," van Gisbergen said.
"Unfortunately we don't see much passing these days. It's a tough one. I sort of had two laps [close to McLaughlin], but never got close enough to even think about having a lunge.
"It's really a qualifying series now, and that's Scotty's strength. So we need to get a bit better at qualifying."
Despite being the category's benchmark qualifier, with 13 poles to his name this season alone, McLaughlin agrees that aero is a genuine problem.
"Last week, with the [tyre degradation], it masked the issue," he said.
"I think we would have had a much bigger issue last week if it wasn't for all the deg we were having. If we were on the hard tyre [the aero wash] would have been really bad. It sucks a little bit."
While there's a limited tyre allocation in play again this weekend, with drivers limited to five sets of soft compound Dunlops for all competitive sessions, van Gisbergen isn't expecting it to make any difference in tomorrow's two races based on today's lack of degradation.
"Everyone did two tyres [at their stop] anyway, so everyone is in a pretty similar spot," he said. "And with no deg, you can't really afford the extra three or four seconds to do the extra tyre, or two tyres.
"Everyone will just do the same. Maybe with no rear tyre issues today you might see more sides tomorrow."
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Davison withdrawn from The Bend