Nick Percat says he would have ignored his team’s call to pit late in Sunday’s Winton finale, had he known he was in fifth place.
The Brad Jones Racing driver was fifth when the Safety Car was called 10 laps from the finish, set to equal his best result of the season to date.
Percat was one of nine drivers to pit for tyres under the yellow, but the only one from the top 14, returning to the track in 12th.
He improved to just ninth during the short run to the chequered flag, with the gamble having failed to pay off.
“We just threw away a result,” Percat said.
“Car #8’s side worked crazy hard to get the car into that position, you could see the other two [BJR] guys still struggling and we were in that top six, seven.
“It felt like I drove every single lap as a quali lap to try and hang in with [third-placed finisher Jamie] Whincup and those guys, so massively disappointing.
“It’s hard to be in the top five, so to throw one away like that is not ideal.”
BJR was without its namesake team boss at Winton, with Brad Jones overseas on holidays.
Percat led the squad’s charge throughout a difficult weekend, qualifying 17th and finishing seventh on Saturday, before starting 11th on Sunday.
“The racecar was alright both days, credit to AE (engineer Andrew Edwards) and all the boys on my side,” said Percat.
“It’s just crazy to do what we did [with strategy], but I don’t have all the information in the car.
“I didn’t even know I was fifth, otherwise I would have ignored the call and taken the risk of fighting people at the end.
“But it is what it is. I’m sure we’ll debrief and once Brad gets back from overseas, he might actually have some input.”
Asked if he’d played any part in the call to pit, Percat added: “I said no.
“Three times [I] asked 'is it the right decision?' and said ‘are you sure?’. I just followed team orders, because otherwise I’d get in trouble.
“I proved three years ago you can have a broken car and still finish 10th with 18 dudes racked up behind you [on better tyres].
“Tyre quality doesn’t win the race at Winton because you can block too easily. It’s just annoying.”