Nick Percat has led the charge all season for Brad Jones Racing but yesterday at Townsville, it was the team player in him that shone through.
A two-time race winner in 2020, Percat was the star of ARMOR ALL Qualifying on day two of the Robson Civil Projects Townsville SuperSprint, nabbing a pair of front-row starts including a maiden pole.
Having converted that pole into fourth in the day’s earlier outing, Percat shared the front-row with BJR teammate Todd Hazelwood for the event finale.
After nearly touching soon after take-off, Percat settled in behind Hazelwood and started to help the #14 sister car open up a buffer at the front of the pack.
Hazelwood would rejoin the field after his compulsory pitstop in a net second place, behind Scott McLaughlin but with much fresher tyres – although a Safety Car intervention for Anton De Pasquale’s stricken Commodore would derail their afternoon.
Hazelwood and Percat ultimately came home sixth and seventh.
That was despite the latter’s best efforts to play the team game in the opening stint of the race.
“About 60 or 70 metres into the start there’s the big painted lines, like the divide, and as soon as I hit that it started cranking sideways,” Percat explained of the race start.
“I thought I need to feather out [of the throttle] here and protect and be a team player.
“So that first stint for me, the car was a bit understeery so I wanted to give Todd the gap and I thought actually I can just back the field up here and he can go and win it.”
Either way, the squad's continued strong pace at a third different circuit positions BJR well heading into the final three events of the year; a doubleheader at The Bend and the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
Currently sixth in the drivers' standings, there’s every chance Percat and BJR could both take best-ever championship placings this year. Percat's previous best is ninth, achieved last year, while BJR have never bettered the sixth Fabian Coulthard took for them in 2013.
The #8 R&J Batteries driver is already eyeing a shot at the Mountain, to come on October 15-18.
“The car has been quick there the last few years and I have a mega co-driver in Tom Randle so for me heading there I have got a lot of confidence,” said Percat.
“I feel like I have got the right guy with me who has been doing laps in Super2 and killing it and his motivation is so high to do a good job so for me, get through Tailem Bend, we went well there last year and then head to Bathurst and try to ruffle a few more feathers.
“Imagine if we snared a pole up there or something, that would be pretty cool. I can’t wait to get to Bathurst and hopefully end the year on a high.”
The next event on the calendar is the Repco SuperSprint at The Bend on September 19-20.