Second-placed MSR basking in 'awesome' start

25 Feb
Matt Stone Racing is second in the teams' points after a career-best fifth for Cameron Hill, run to sixth for Nick Percat
3 mins by James Pavey
  • Cameron Hill hails "awesome" start for MSR

  • Hill fifth, Nick Percat sixth in Thrifty Bathurst 500 opener

  • MSR second in teams' championship standings

Cameron Hill has hailed Matt Stone Racing’s “awesome” start to 2024, which has seen the Queensland squad placed second in the teams’ championship standings after Race 1.

At Mount Panorama, Hill finished a career-best fifth after qualifying fourth in the #4 Tyrepower Chevrolet, while recruit Nick Percat raced the #10 Bendix Camaro to sixth.

While Triple Eight finished first and second, it was a day for the smaller teams to shine, with Brad Jones Racing duo Bryce Fullwood and Andre Heimgartner also racing from 12th to seventh and 17th to ninth.

MSR’s Thrifty Bathurst 500 campaign began on the front foot with speed in practice, before Hill reached his first ever Boost Mobile Top Ten Shootout.

Hill moved up to third after Chaz Mostert was blocked by both Triple Eight drivers, and took the lead as the pit stops began. Despite a small error before his stop at Hell Corner, Hill raced to a maiden top five in Supercars, with Percat sixth on an aggressive strategy.

After the first race of the season, MSR is behind only Triple Eight in the teams’ championship — something not lost on either driver.

hill percat bathurst 500 2024

“I got a mega start and got up to third, was running along strong in the early phase and started to stretch the gap to the cars behind,” Hill said.

"The two Triple Eight cars ahead of us pitted and I was then in the lead of the race and we were trying to go long to make the later stints a bit shorter.

"Unfortunately I made a small mistake and almost threw it off, but recovered and had to make a few passes after that. We regained some ground and got back up to P5.

"It’s a personal best for me, Nick finished sixth, and we’re second in the teams’ championship after day one, so it’s been an awesome start for the team.”

Percat added: “We qualified eighth and finished sixth; great strategy by the Bendix Racing crew — to move forward in these races is hard.

"We went fairly aggressive and went long and had two really quick stints home which was really good fun. When you’ve got grip and a light fuel load, the car feels great and you can throw some big passes on other cars and it all went well.

"If the last Safety Car didn’t happen I thought Cam could have potentially got fourth and I would have been fifth, but day one, we’ll take that.

"It’s definitely a positive start — it’s probably one of my best first races of the season, so if we back it up tomorrow it will be good to leave here with a really solid haul of points.

"It makes the first half of the season much easier when you can hit the ground running.”

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