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NICK PERCAT MELBOURNE 400 PREVIEW
13 March 2019
I’m excited to get back to the Albert Park circuit this weekend for the Beaurepaires Melbourne 400, which is part of the Formula 1 season opener.
It will be my sixth year racing a Supercar at the AGP, and for the second year in a row we are racing for championship points. I got two podium finishes there last year, so that gives me a bit of extra confidence heading back.
It’s always cool to race on the same bill as Formula 1, those cars are seriously incredible to watch, and we Supercar drivers also enjoy being race fans for the weekend!
For us as a team and for myself, it’s all about maintaining our position in the championship for the AGP and the next couple of rounds. I’m currently sitting 5
overall, and the aim is to stay inside the top 6.
We will take the same approach we took into the season opener in Adelaide. We didn’t race too hard and we picked our battles… I’ll be saving that for later in the year when we need to get the elbows out!
The format of the Melbourne 400 includes four short qualifying sessions- one for each race. Two of them will be held on Thursday in the twilight and the next two are in the early afternoon on Friday, in peak sun and temperature so the track will be slower and require a different set up.
There’s two 70 km races and two longer 130 km races that will include a compulsory pit stop.
The different track conditions across the weekend could throw up some surprises in the way the field is spread, so that’s something to look forward to as well.
Our cars have very high tyre degradation at the Albert Park circuit. We basically get one set of green tyres per Qualifying session, so if you make a mistake on any of them you could find yourself starting well down the order.
The tyre gain at this track is probably 2 seconds per lap from old to new, so it’s crucial to maximise the tyres to get a good lap time.
The good thing about this track is that if you do qualify poorly but you have a fast race car, there are plenty of passing opportunities. I unfortunately found that out in 2017, in my first year at BJR. I had to start last due to an ECU issue and picked my way through the field quite easily, until that unfortunate brake failure took me (and Lee Holdsworth) out of the race in spectacular fashion.
The plan this weekend is to avoid any trouble like that again and take another solid haul of championship points away.
You can follow me on social media for updates across the event.
Instagram - @nickpercat
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