Percat shattered after early Bathurst crash

  • Bathurst 12 hour
  • |
  • 03/02/2019
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus

An early tangle has cost Supercars driver Nick Percat any hope of a strong finish in the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.

The HubAuto Ferrari-mounted Percat collided with the #96 MARC I entry, driven by Dutchman Mathijs Bakker, on the run to Forrest’s Elbow just prior to the race’s two-hour mark.

Both cars collected the concrete as a result of the incident, which triggered the race's second Safety Car.

Despite initial fears its race was over, the Ferrari returned to the track after losing just over an hour.

Percat started the race in the car he is sharing with fellow Brad Jones Racing Supercars driver Tim Slade and Nick Foster.

They lined up 20th after a refuelling error in qualifying restricted running in the second Saturday session.

“Everything was going very smooth until we got to qualifying,” said Percat.

“During the race there I was just cruising along, gave myself heaps of clear space, knowing it’s a long race.

“But unfortunately in the lapped traffic, I don’t know, I haven’t seen a replay, but I think it’s just one of those awkward things.

“I got left room, then I gave room back, and obviously there was no more room. I got tagged in the rear and ended up in the fence down at Forrest’s Elbow.

“There’s no blame on the other car, it’d be very difficult to drive a slower car around here with the GT3 cars because you’re always driving in the mirror.

“I feel sorry for those guys and for the HubAuto team, it’s extremely disappointing, because we’ve come from Malaysia, brought a car here, and it was very fast all through practice.

“Qualifying didn’t go to plan, but we were chipping away, driving the car at like 70 percent to save it for later in the day.

“I’m shattered for Nick and Sladey. It’s not a great start to the year.”

Bakker, a 59-year-old Dutchman having his first run at Bathurst, blamed Percat for the incident.

“At Skyline I let a bunch of cars behind me [through] and this guy [Percat] was far behind me,” he told Supercars.com.

“Then going into the Elbow, I just felt I was hit in the backside, the car flicked around, and I hit the wall.

“I was preparing to go into the Elbow, there was no space, and then there was a bang and I was a passenger.

“When a racecar is hit from behind, the car at the back is always at fault. You cannot just take over.

“It’s bad luck. It’s my first time here, we had a good practice and it’s a pity for my team-mates.”

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