Craig Lowndes' race engineer Jeromy Moore says the Red Bull team will try to "pull a rabbit out the hat" for this afternoon's 200km race. The #888 Commodore will start from last on the grid after driver error from Lowndes in qualifying.
The Holden Commodore drove back to pitlane, but after assessing the front right of the car, the team elected not to send the former Champion out for a final dash on Dunlop soft tyres.
He tumbled down the order as shots were fired from competitors, with the men he is chasing in the Championship, teammate Jamie Whincup and Ford Pepsi Max's Mark Winterbottom are sixth and 15th, there was potential to jag a strong starting spot and make ground on them.
"It's just that we've had so much rain overnight we couldn't stop the car. Bad luck," Lowndes said of the incident.
Back in 23rd, and with teams allocated one set of Dunlop soft tyres to throw on during the 200km race, Moore said they will need to make some magic and earn as many points as possible in today's later race.
"At that point on the race track on the starting grid you have to do something to overtake people," Moore told v8supercars.com.au.
"The cars are so similar these days you can't just pass them down the straight too easily. So we'll see what we can do - pull a rabbit out of the hat.
"We wanted some decent points today, but it's a long race on these soft tyres. I don't think they're going to last around here for too long so strategy will come into it. We want to get some decent points again, but didn't really help the challenge."
Lowndes was clearly annoyed at his error when getting out of the car.
"He obviously knew he made a mistake and it's sort of hurting himself - but we're all human, we're not all robots who can perform at ten-tenths one hundred per cent at a time.
"And even the great Craig Lowndes makes mistakes - we've just got to move forward and do the best we can in the race."
Casting eyes back to Tasmania, when the #888 was excluded from qualifying after a breach from the team, Lowndes started at the back of the grid and tore through the pack to finish second in the 100km race on soft tyres.
"Quite often he performs better when he's behind the eight ball and he's made a mistake, or we've made a mistake together," Moore said.
"I think we should see a hopefully rejuvenated Craig Lowndes on fire, firing through the field come the race today."
Lowndes is 186 points away from Championship leader and teammate Whincup, with 150 on offer today at the Sydney Motorsport Park 400.
Fabian Coulthard starts alongside pole man McLaughlin on the front row.
The 200km race begins at 3.45pm AEST - and the sun is out at Eastern Creek.