Sydney Supercars: Percat cruises to Race 2 win
Nick Percat took his second win in as many Supercars race weekends with a well-crafted Race 2 effort at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Having taken the pain of two sets of hard last night, Percat came into today's first 32-lapper with a healthy stock of soft compound tyres.
That effectively put him on the same starting strategy as Shane van Gisbergen, the pair swiftly clearing hards-shod pole-sitter Scott McLaughlin and charging into the lead.
Percat spent the entire first stint glued to van Gisbergen's bumper, before diving into the lane to take on a full new set of softs on Lap 12.
Had Triple Eight pulled van Gisbergen in on the next lap things may have been interesting at the front, however, for the second day in a row, the factory Holden squad opted to go for a long first stint.
And, just like last night, it didn't work. By the time van Gisbergen pitted on Lap 22 he was destined to be dumped back in the pack.
That cleared the way for Percat to take a comfortable win, the Brad Jones Racing driver a handy 8.8s down the road from Fabian Coulthard at the finish.
"We knew our long tyre pace was good, so we tried to force the hand of Triple Eight," said Percat of his relatively early stop.
"I thought they were going to play the softs-softs game, so I thought 'well you can try and pass me now, because I've had a crack at you for 10 laps'.
"It was mega. Credit to BJR, Brad [Jones], [engineer Andrew Edwards], everyone there. They backed how I look after a tyre so we could do a strategy like that. Good fun."
Coulthard, who ran softs in both stints, was a lonely second, with an 11s gap back to teammate McLaughlin
The battle for third, however, was a blinder. Like yesterday McLaughlin started on the hards, which meant letting the softs-shod cars disappear at the start. However once again he stormed back into contention once taking on softs on Lap 13.
From the back of the Top 10 McLaughlin worked his way back to fifth starting the final lap, right on the back of James Courtney and Rick Kelly as they squabbled over third. He then picked off Kelly, before denying Courtney a first podium as Tickford driver by out-dragging him to the finish line.
"That was awesome," he said. "Good racing. I really needed Rick to make a mistake or have a go at James, and he sort of did. I got up the inside at Corporate Hill. And then James made a mistake at the second last corner, and I gave him a little nudge and away we went."
Courtney came home fourth, while Chaz Mostert – who started on hards and then switched to softs for the run home, managed to also get past Kelly on the final lap for fifth.
Garry Jacobson played his soft tyre hand to finish seventh, van Gisbergen slipped all the way back to eighth, while Cam Waters and Jack Smith rounded out the Top 10.
Jamie Whincup, meanwhile, copped hards all race, which left him way down in 17th.
|1||8|| Nick Percat ||-|
|2||12|| Fabian Coulthard ||8.874||8.875||8.875|
|3||17|| Scott McLaughlin ||19.636||19.636||10.762|
|4||44|| James Courtney ||19.661||19.661||0.025|
|5||25|| Chaz Mostert ||20.463||20.464||0.802|
|6||15|| Rick Kelly ||20.607||20.608||0.144|
|7||35|| Garry Jacobson ||21.073||21.074||0.466|
|8||97|| Shane van Gisbergen ||27.504||27.504||6.431|
|9||6|| Cameron Waters ||27.673||27.674||0.169|
|10||4|| Jack Smith ||31.228||31.229||3.555|
|View full results|
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