Percat overwhelmed by flying MSR start

28 Feb
Nick Percat is sixth in the points after Round 1. Conversely, he left the last four season-openers in 12th, 14th, 11th and 25th
3 mins by James Pavey
  • Nick Percat sixth in drivers' points after Bathurst 500

  • Percat enjoys best start to a new season since 2019

  • Cameron Hill Supercar on display in Canberra this week

Nick Percat is already itching to race in Melbourne after an “amazing” first weekend with Matt Stone Racing, which has the veteran sixth in the drivers’ standings.

Percat and MSR were a revelation at the Thrifty Bathurst 500, with second-year driver Cameron Hill also showing impressive first-up pace.

Both cars reached the Boost Mobile Top Ten Shootout on Saturday, with Percat backing it up on Sunday.

The team also performed in the races, Hill and Percat finishing fifth and sixth on Saturday, before Percat came home ninth on Sunday.

Hill was the unfortunate meat in a first-lap sandwich on Sunday, consigning the #4 Tyrepower Chevrolet to the garage and an eventual finish 10 laps of the pace.

However, MSR still left Mount Panorama a team-best third in the points, with Percat also enjoying his best start to a season since 2019. Conversely, he left the last five season-openers in 14th (2020), 11th (2021), 15th (2022) and 25th (2023).

"Amazing first weekend with MSR to be honest, we’re sixth in the championship, two top 10 results, two Top 10 Shootouts,” Percat said.

“Honestly couldn’t have thought it could have gone much better. From my side, amazing just to get miles in this car — it’s much different to what I’m used to in the past with the philosophy and the way the car is set up.

"Overall, a really positive weekend, a lot of learning from my side. Cannot wait to get to the next round and continue building on the momentum we’ve got as a team.

"Cam has been super fast as well, so once we have a bit of luck on his side… we would have had two cars in the top 10 today. Can’t wait to get to the next one.”

First lap: Mostert gets the jump, Hill sent into a spin

Hill — whose Camaro is heading to Canberra this weekend — was pleased with his speed, and wouldn’t let his Sunday skirmish define his weekend.

“All done for Round 1 — it was polar opposites for me from Saturday to Sunday but that’s the highs and lows of motorsport,” Hill said.

"We had dramas in qualifying, only got one run and landed up P14, probably not showing our full potential. Then it was all done in the race pretty much before the first corner.

"I was trying to go between the row in front of me and there just wasn’t enough room and tangled with someone. It’s still a really good weekend for us — we rolled out with a fast car, we executed really well on Saturday and the boys did an amazing job.

"We won’t let today define us, we’re going to come back and we’re going to be stronger than ever before. Thank you to everyone here at Matt Stone Racing and all the supporters that made this possible.”

Hill’s Gen3 Supercar will be on display on Saturday March 3 at the Majura Park Shopping Centre from 9:30am, ahead of its appearance at the Canberra Festival of Speed.

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