Nick Percat has revealed how close he and co-driver Cameron McConville came to missing out on Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport’s sensational Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 third place.
Percat, who also confirmed at Bathurst yesterday he will be leaving LDM at the end of the season, said his Clipsal 500 Holden Commodore VF ran out of fuel as it approached the chequered flag and was literally pushed across the line by the fourth placed Monster Falcon of Cameron Waters and Jack Le Brocq.
“At the end we were the same as everyone fuel-saving and Cam Waters actually pushed me across the line because the thing wasn’t even running,” the 28-year old recounted.
“I will thank him for that one later.”
“It coughed at The Chase, went silent under brakes and then somehow just barked up again at the exit and I had just enough squirt to get over the hill.
“I then held the brake that little bit longer than he wanted me to at the apex of the last corner and we are on the podium.”
It was an amazing result for the perennial minnow team, which has had a turbulent year since breaking through for its first win at the Clipsal 500 in March. Of course, it must also wait on the result of Triple Eight’s appeal against Jamie Whincup’s time penalty to finalise this result.
Yesterday’s podium adds to Percat’s strong Bathurst record. He claimed a win on debut in 2011 with Garth Tander in a Holden Racing Team Commodore and third place in 2014 with Briton Oliver Gavin in a Walkinshaw Racing Commodore.
“I think I drove a better race this year (than 2014) with less mistakes and faster,” he said.
“I managed fuel for probably one of the first times since I have been in the category because we have never had to manage fuel like that - at least from my side.”
Percat praised McConville’s effort, the 42-year old Victorian coming out of retirement to join LDM for the Pirtek Enduro Cup.
“Cam did a ripper job all day and when the car was hard to drive he was faster than me in that first part so I learned from what he was doing and it was happy days.”
McConville was originally scheduled to only do the Wilson Security Sandown 500, where he and Percat finished ninth, but stepped up for the rest of Pirtek Enduro Cup when Gavin had more clashing commitments.
“I am very grateful for the opportunity and the call-up,” McConville said. “Nick drove very maturely today and the car was good.
“This is like a win for LDM and Lucas. It hasn’t been the best of years for the team and I am really proud of that small team and to share in this little bit of success with them.
“This is my sixth podium (at Bathurst), still without a win, so I just have to keep coming back.”
Asked about his future, Percat confirmed he and Dumbrell had discussed his future and agreed he would not be driving for LDM in 2017.
“We have spoken about it, but it’s not an option for him at the moment,” said Percat. “It’s quite a small team and it’s pretty obvious to see you need money to go racing and up until a few weeks ago the cars were bare.
“We spoke about a month ago and said we wouldn’t be able to do anything. It was probably pretty hard for him because we are such good friends and you don’t want to mix business and friends and he was mature about it.
“We just had a conversation in his office and he gave me permission to go and try and find another drive for next year. That’s what I have been off doing and it’s all good.”
Asked if he was still shopping around, Percat replied: “I might have something in the basket ... it will come out in the wash soon.”