Dutton: No dramas behind the scenes

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 25/06/2015
  • By V8 Supercars

Red Bullboss Mark Dutton says his team simply needs to do better, as itpushes to elevate both Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes in the Championship standings.

A risky strategy call on Sunday in Darwin saw Whincup finish 22nd and Lowndes 15th after both suffering tyre delaminations in the valuable 200km double points race.

While Lowndes is still in a strong position - second in the Championship, 95 points away from Prodrive leader Mark Winterbottom - defending and six-time Champion Whincup is 286 points off the pace, with 300 the maximum a driver can earn across a race weekend.

Whincup distanced himself from the team's strategy decision post-race, saying he trusted the engineering group's calls and did his best to execute the plan. And while Dutton admitted Whincup had been apprehensive about the call, the team boss emphasised there were no fractures in the working group - they are just going through what othershave over the past few years, chasing a form team.

Dutton stepped up into the team manager role at the beginning of last season after engineering Whincup to five of his V8 Supercars titles. Focus was on the relationship between Whincup and new engineer David Cauchi after a slow start to the season last year - but Dutton says the pair is working well together.

"It's hard [when you're not finishing] where you're used to and things like that," he told v8supercars.com.au.

"They're working well together, there's no bad blood. No one's having cracks at each other, it's professional, we do our job ... we stand as a united group ready to go."

Dutton commended the job Prodrive Racing Australia was doing out on track and said there were no excuses for the usually dominant Holden team falling behind.

"This is what the rest of pit lane deals with - we're no different in that sense, just fortunate enough in the past not to have experienced this for a while. But it comes round and everyone works hard," he said.

"Generally everyone thinks we've been winning so long it's easy. It's never easy, it just looks easy sometimes - so there's always this amount of hard work and pressure."

Prodrive has been the 'best of the rest' the last few seasons, having come runner-up to Triple Eight in the teams' Championship every year since 2011, and winning the last two Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000s. Winterbottom has been a consistent front-runner in the title fight having finished top five every year since 2006.

"Other people are doing a better job than us," Dutton said.

"I don't think there's any deficits in the cars or anything like that... [if] we do a good enough job, you win.

"We're not doing the best job, the people winning are doing the best job right now and we need to do better."

While Winterbottom told v8supercars.com.au he was still wary of Whincup, who almost flicks a switch and goes on to dominate, the Pepsi Max star spoke in more detail to FOX SPORTS about the defending champ's uncanny ability to come back.

"He's one of those guys that ... it's almost like he gets written off sometimes and then he just has this big 'I'll show you' type thing and comes out and dominates," Winterbottom told FOX SPORTS.

"Townsville is always good for them as well. I wouldn't be surprised if they bounced back pretty hard there, and (Whincup) in particular. He's always pretty good there," Winterbottom said.

Whincup has performed incredibly well at the Townsville event in the past, having earned seven of 13 races at the street track, with Garth Tander the nearest competitor with three wins.

After the SKYCITY Triple Crown, Winterbottom lamented a lack of pace compared to his teammates Chaz Mostert and David Reynolds, and said the team was constantly bringing upgrades to the cars to ensure itdoesn't get steamrolled by Red Bull.

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