Craig Lowndes admits Triple Eight is still ironing out some issues with 2016’s three car structure, which sees him run a TeamVortex Commodore in a second garage this year.
Lowndes’ entry pairs with TEKNO Autosports, with Red Bull’s Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen next door.
TEKNO’s Will Davison won the race on Sunday in Tasmania and Lowndes came home in second place, which leave the 2015 title runner-up second in this year’s championship points while his Red Bull teammates both had a shocking Sunday.
While he was pleased with the result, which came largely because of a clever strategy call, fan favourite Lowndes believes there’s still room for improvement operationally as the team focuses on next week's event at Phillip Island.
“We’re still finding our way,” Lowndes said.
“We’re still running back and forth from trailer to trailer and we’ve got to find a better way of doing things at the moment.
“I’m still lacking a little bit of data time – for me, I didn’t have any data at Clipsal and basically had minimum this weekend – so we’ve got to find a better solution of how we process the way we operate.”
Coming into the event Lowndes said he was working well with Ludo Lacroix, who doubles as Triple Eight technical director and race engineer on car #888.
And while Lowndes identified room for improvement, he was pleased with the result on Sunday, particularly working with TEKNO in pit lane.
“All in all, for us it was a great result.
“It’s great for our garage – between TEKNO and us we obviously work very close and very hard.
“We don’t want to trip each other up and again this weekend we were able to get the stops right and work together as a team. So for us it couldn’t be any better.”
After qualifying 11th, while the Red Bulls locked out the second row, Lowndes’ team pitted him on lap one to try and gain track position. The gamble paid off, with Whincup – who was second on the road – having to double stack behind Shane van Gisbergen and tumbling down the order to 13th.
“We lucked it a little bit. We always planned to come in on the first lap, try and get some clean air and try and run hard and fast,” Lowndes said of the strategy.
“With that [we knew] we’d have to look after and conserve our tyres – we’d have to do 40 laps or more on that set of tyres. So that was something in the back of my mind at the beginning.”
The scramble at the end of the race with van Gisbergen slipping off from the lead on oil and Mark Winterbottom running wide at the hairpin allowed Lowndes to sneak onto the podium. Again he used the work ‘luck’ but was happy to have made that much ground after starting outside of the top 10.
“I started 11th … until, of course, we pop out second and brought it home,” he said.
“It’s a credit to us. We are working and trying hard to make the car better – obviously the Red Bull cars have got their act together and we’ve got to try and follow suit.
“For us it’s good team morale and a good boost for us.