Coates Hire Racing’s Nick Percat has ended the Winton 400 weekend strongly, continuing his good form in qualifying and bringing his Walkinshaw prepared Holden Commodore home in 17th position.
Percat qualified the #222 Commodore in ninth position in the 20 minute qualifying session this morning.
After dropping a few places in a frenetic opening lap, the South Australian was able to charge a few places ahead and by the midpoint was inside the top 10.
As pitstops played out and the laps wound down, Percat’s Dunlop tyres were coming towards the end of their life and finished 17th, a strong top 20 performance.
Percat walked away from the weekend pleased with the turnaround and happy with the continued development of the Coates Hire-backed team’s qualifying pace.
Missing the setup on the difficult and ever changing Winton track surface throughout the weekend cost the team a better result today, however many positives are being drawn from the weekend as a group.
Both James Courtney and Tim Slade finished on the podium in second and third respectively in identical cars to Percat’s #222. They finished behind Ford Performance Racing’s Mark Winterbottom.
Much of the discussion post-race centred around penalties that were handed down to a number of major contenders for speeding in pitlane, including pole-sitter, Scott McLaughlin - who recorded the first ever pole position for himself in V8 Supercars and Volvo.
Craig Lowndes extended his Championship lead, whilst Winterbottom moved to second by virtue of today's win. After winning race one yesterday, Fabian Coulthard has elevated himself to third in the Title race in front of James Courtney and Jamie Whincup, who has dropped to fifth.
The Championship now moves to the fast, wide-open spaces of the Pukekohe Park Circuit just outside Auckland over the ANZAC Day weekend, an event where Percat is looking forward to flying the Coates Hire flag in front of the passionate New Zealand V8 Supercar crowd.
DRIVER QUOTES - NICK PERCAT:
“We’re really happy with our qualifying pace, we were able to finish in the top 10 in two of the three qualifiers this weekend, but (engineers) Alex, Ty and I need to sit down and work on our race pace.
“The race today was a tough one, we slightly missed the setup window and we were chewing through the tyres a little quicker than what would be ideal, which ultimately hurt our chances of a top result, but we’re feeling happy as a team and it was great to see two of our guys up on the podium this afternoon - hopefully we can join them very soon.
“New Zealand in a couple of weeks should be great. The crowd is always very receptive and passionate about V8 Supercars racing. Pukekohe is an awesome track that requires a massive amount of commitment.
“We’ll work hard over the next couple of weeks, look back at what we did well this weekend and hopefully put all of the pieces together to move forward in NZ".