CASTROL TOWNSVILLE 500 WRAP UP
7 July 2014
Coates Hire Racing's Nick Percat completed his most successful weekend of V8 Supercars racing at the Castrol Townsville 500. Percat placed fifth in the final 250km race yesterday afternoon alongside his fourth place in the opening race and a ninth in Race 2 yesterday.
Highlights included his qualifying performances, a front row start in the second race of the weekend and top-10 starting spots across the weekend.
In the final race Percat started eighth and pitted at the end of the opening lap when the only Safety Car for the race was called. As the majority of the field dived to the lane he re-joined in thirteenth place, however quickly moved up the order.
By the halfway mark he sat second as a range of pit stop strategies started to play out. Percat re-joined in fifteenth, however, along with stable mate James Courtney again came through the pack.
With 20 laps to go Percat was in fourth and on the rear bumper of Courtney. Showing plenty of respect for each other, the two were locked together as Shane van Gisbergen, on fresher tyres, came through with just 10 laps to run.
Despite dropping a spot, Percat was more than pleased with his weekend and the performance of his crew as he now looks to the second half of the season.
"Awesome to be in the top-5 twice on the weekend, and especially on the long Sunday race which pays the big points," said Percat.
"I really have to thanks all the boys who have worked tirelessly over the past month. The great thing is that this was a genuine performance, no flukes and we have every right to feel confident heading into the second half of the season.
"Our qualifying pace has been a big highlight and even though I would have loved another set of rear tyres to vault us even further up the order we had to look towards the race.
"To really come on so strong is awesome and to battle with my team-mates is a great sign for the whole Walkinshaw operation...the positions we are fighting each other for are at the front.
A good weekend also for Coates Hire Racing's John Bowe who finished third overall aboard the IL Bello Russo Ferrari 458 Italia G in the Australian GT Championship.
After a puncture in the opening race on Saturday, Bowe's co-driver Tony D'Alberto started the second 40-minute race from 17th position and quickly moved up the order and was soon in the lead. Bowe took over the Ferrari for the run to chequered flag to take victory.
Starting off pole in the final race of the weekend, Bowe was in a strong position heading for the pit stop. However, starting from pole meant a longer mandatory stop period and D'Alberto re-joined the race as low as fourth place. He moved the order to second before the 40-minute race came to its conclusion.
"After the puncture in the opening race it was great to hit back in the two Sunday races," said Bowe.
"We had a dream run in the first race as our grid position meant we had a shorter compulsory stop time in the pits. The flip-side was that we had to take a longer time in the last race of the day.
"So to finish second in the last one and be third overall for the weekend was a great achievement.
"I have really enjoyed the event, the track and sharing the car with Tony who never missed a beat this weekend."