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Who are Supercars' first-lap kings in 2023?

19 Jul
Who is moving up and down the order early?
3 mins by James Pavey
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Walkinshaw Andretti United driver Nick Percat has emerged as the first-lap master so far in 2023, gaining more places than any other Supercars driver.

Despite starting in the mid-pack and rear of the field for many of the races, Percat has kept his nose clean and moved forward.

Remarkably, Percat has only lost a place once on the first lap all season, at Albert Park.

The WAU veteran has climbed three or more positions on five occasions.

Percat's average first-lap rise of 1.7 positions is just ahead of Nulon Racing’s James Golding (1.4) and Brad Jones Racing’s Macauley Jones (1.2).

WAU teammate Chaz Mostert is fourth, with a net gain of 18 positions at a 1.1 average over the 17 races.

The outlier is Race 6 at Albert Park, with no gains or losses recorded due to a rolling start.

Several big names are in negative figures, given they’ve started towards the front and found first-lap drama.

Notably, Shane van Gisbergen has a net loss of 17 positions, suffering first-lap incidents in Tasmania and Townsville.

At Symmons Plains, van Gisbergen tripped over Penrite Racing’s David Reynolds, who has a net loss of 23 positions.

Reynolds was turned around at Turn 1 at Albert Park, and has lost ground on seven occasions this season.

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The #26 Penrite Ford started sixth in the Melbourne race, and lost 19 spots as he became beached — the single biggest drop on a first lap all season.

Gains and losses on lap 1 in 2023 (after 17 races)

Driver

Net outcome

Gain/loss

Percat

29

1.7

Golding

24

1.4

Jones

21

1.2

Mostert

18

1.1

Hazelwood

15

0.9

Slade

14

0.8

Fullwood

10

0.6

Smith

6

0.4

Brown

6

0.4

Davison

6

0.4

Heimgartner

2

0.2

Randle

1

0.1

De Pasquale

0

0

Feeney

-6

-0.4

Courtney

-7

-0.4

Waters

-7

-0.4

Fraser

-7

-0.4

Kostecki

-9

-0.5

Le Brocq

-9

-0.5

Pye

-10

-0.6

Hill

-14

-0.8

Winterbottom

-16

-0.9

van Gisbergen

-17

-1.0

Reynolds

-23

-1.4

Payne

-28

-1.6

The incident all affected Team 18’s Mark Winterbottom, who was forced to take avoiding action and dropped 18 spots.

The next day, Winterbottom crashed after contact with Golding while disputing a top five position, and the DEWALT Camaro dropped 16 spots as he crawled back to pit lane.

Further around the lap, James Courtney dropped 17 positions as he brought his fiery #5 Snowy River Caravan Ford into the lane.

Percat (AGP Race 4), Reynolds (Darwin Race 14), Mostert (Townsville Race 16) and Declan Fraser (Darwin Race 15) have made the biggest first-lap gains with six spots.

The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship will resume at the Beaurepaires Sydney SuperNight on July 28-30. Tickets are on sale now.

The biggest gains

The biggest losses

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