Triple Eight wary of Mustang Bend strengths

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 30/07/2022
  • By James Pavey

The Ford Mustang’s speed at The Bend has Triple Eight on alert ahead of the OTR SuperSprint.

Shane van Gisbergen enters the weekend 274 points ahead of Anton De Pasquale.

Mustangs have won 10 of the last 11 races, and taken 10 of the last 11 poles, in Tailem Bend.

Van Gisbergen’s win in 2020 is the only blip on the Mustang’s record at the fast, flowing circuit.

The Kiwi returned to form with a clean sweep at the NTI Townsville 500.

However, Red Bull Ampol Racing Team Manager Mark Dutton expects the Blue Oval brigade to roll out strongly.

"It’s so cold this weekend, so that’ll change a few things," Dutton told Supercars.com.

"We’ve seen how quick the Mustangs are around here, particularly one-lap pace.

"The air density is different, so that’ll change aero. Track temp, so that changes tyres.

"It’s such a hard place to pass, so qualifying is more important than ever.

"It’ll be tough."

Mark Skaife and Craig Lowndes both forecast Mustang dominance this weekend.

De Pasquale took two poles and won a race last May, with Cam Waters also winning a race.

Will Davison is a renewed force in 2022, having won in Perth.

Waters defeated van Gisbergen last year

Cold temperatures and high winds will punctuate running this weekend, with drivers to solely run on the Soft tyre.

Dutton believes there is scope for tyre blistering, as there was at Albert Park.

Drivers who pushed set-up too far at Albert Park were forced to make emergency second stops.

Dutton knows set-up will prove critical, and his hoping his team doesn’t miss the mark.

Red Bull Ampol Racing arrives in Tailem Bend with a slender 10-point lead over Shell V-Power Racing Team.

"We’ve seen blistering here before," Dutton said.

"Blistering is a function of temperature; really cold temperature will affect that.

"There are unknowns; it’ll be a case of ‘who dares wins’.

"It mightn’t rear its head until the race, given how aggressive you’ve tuned the car.

"You don’t want to come in for a second stop, because you’ll look like wankers.

"You also don’t want to go too conservative, when someone blasts past you and their tyres don’t blow up.

"Their tyres might look rubbish after the race, but if they lasted the race, they’re ahead of you.

"The penalty for being wrong here is very, very high."

Cars will hit the track at the OTR SuperSprint on Saturday. Purchase your tickets now.

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