Penrite Racing Team Principal David Cauchi has highlighted qualifying as an early strength in Matt Payne’s rookie season.
Heading to the NED Whisky Tasmania SuperSprint, Payne sits 12th overall, and is just 87 points from eighth.
Perth was Payne’s best round yet, with the Kiwi young gun qualifying fifth and eighth for the first two races.
The 20-year-old converted to results, finishing sixth and ninth to record his first solo top 10 finishes.
It comes after Payne qualified ninth, 15th, fifth and eighth at the Beaurepaires Melbourne SuperSprint.
Payne has the wood over fellow rookies Declan Fraser and Cameron Hill, who are 23rd and 24th respectively.
For Cauchi, Payne’s ability to deliver over one lap has helped the New Zealander have a fighting chance in the races.
“It’s awesome to see Matt doing well,” Cauchi told the Schick Cool Down Lap podcast.
“He’s stepped it up in qualifying. He’s still working on his race craft, there are a few things he’s struggled with.
“But he’s slowly, slowly getting better. I’m rapt from him, can’t ask for any more from him at the moment.
“He’s doing a great job. The cars are obviously fast, everyone at Penrite Racing is doing an awesome job.
“Can’t be happier.”
Payne’s efforts haven’t been lost on experienced teammate David Reynolds, who has two podiums to his name already in 2023.
“He’s young and inexperienced, but he’s a very good driver,” Reynolds said prior to Perth.
“For someone his age, he's quite methodical and quite calculated.
“He knows what’s going on with the car, and what he’s trying to do out there.
“His results have been really good so far — much better than we expected."
Penrite Racing is also third in the teams' championship standings, behind Erebus Motorsport and Triple Eight.
The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship will resume at the NED Whisky Tasmania SuperSprint on May 19-21.
Tickets for the event are on sale on Supercars.com and Ticketek.com.