No panic for Percat ahead of crucial test day

26 May
Nick Percat is sixth in the championship after four rounds, but has had to work hard in the races courtesy of inconsistency in qualifying
3 mins by James Pavey
  • Nick Percat wants qualifying gains at test day

  • Percat's average finish is 10.0, average grid of 13.8

  • MSR claimed first win in Darwin last year

Nick Percat is confident in the race speed in his Matt Stone Racing Chevrolet, but is keen to unpack more one-lap pace at an upcoming test day.

Percat is sixth in the championship after four rounds, but has had to work hard in the races courtesy of inconsistency in qualifying.

In the four races after his Grand Prix win, Percat qualified 24th and last twice in New Zealand, before qualifying 13th and 18th in Perth.

The #10 Bendix Camaro driver has a qualifying average of 13.8, but has improved his average race finish to 10.0.

Percat and MSR will have a golden chance to unpack why one-lap pace is eluding the 2011 Bathurst winner, with a number of teams set to test this week.

MSR Perth-119

MSR will be joined by Triple Eight, Dick Johnson Racing and Brad Jones Racing (Jaxon Evans rookie test) at Queensland Raceway on Tuesday, while Tickford Racing and Penrite Racing will test at Winton Motor Raceway.

After flying home in the Perth finale following a penalty, which came amid a big battle with James Courtney, Percat knows he can fight at the front provided he starts there.

“I think for me, the weakest part is my qualifying performance at the moment,” Percat told Supercars.com.

"Sunday we rolled out and it felt really easy, but then I couldn't replicate it in Q2. So we have to have a look at why that happened, because all I had to do was replicate it or get within half a tenth of the lap.

“The race car was amazing. The last 20 laps of the race, we were basically one of the quickest cars on track. We caught the group again after having a 15-second penalty. So, there's no lack of car speed.”

Percat has added incentive to get on top of qualifying at the test, given the next round was the scene of MSR's first win last Darwin. Percat also has previous form at Hidden Valley Raceway with three podiums.

Percat and Courtney's hair-raising battle

“At the test day, there will be a fair bit of focus around just making sure I get the right feeling out of the car to be able to bang out that one lap,” Percat added.

“It’s good to be in the car a lot — obviously we raced in Perth, did a ride day, then we'll test, and then it feels like only a week later we're in Darwin, where obviously MSR got their first win.

“A lot's changed since then, the category's tighter now with this Gen3 car now everyone's got a bit more of a handle on it, but MSR went really well there last year, so naturally we'll go in there with good confidence.

"Darwin's a track that I've loved since I've ever been there in an Aussie Racing Car. I’ve won there in Aussie Racing Cars, Formula Ford, I feel like most of my podiums have been in Darwin for Supercars."

The 2024 Repco Supercars Championship will resume at the betr Darwin Triple Crown on June 14-16. Tickets for the event are on sale now. International viewers can follow all the action on Superview.

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