Nick Percat admits that it was disappointing not to be able to properly celebrate his first win for Brad Jones Racing with the team due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Percat took out Race 8 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship at the BP Ultimate Sydney SuperSprint, the first event since the local outbreak of the coronavirus.
A number of infection prevention and control measures were implemented at Sydney Motorsport Park, including the scrapping of podiums.
For Percat, however, the greater disappointments were the fact that several crew members, including owner Brad Jones, were absent, and those that did attend were unable to join him at his car post-race in order to prevent teams from intermingling.
“I think the biggest thing was not having the team over the (pit) wall at the end of the race, not being down in parc ferme with you,” he explained.
“Obviously, they do all the hard work and we, as a driver, get all the coverage and the limelight, so it would have just been nice to have all the BJR guys down there with me.
“The podium, obviously that’s cool personally, but I think just (to) share it with the team that does all the hard work would have been really cool.”
The win was the third of Percat’s Virgin Australia Supercars Championship career, after a rookie triumph as co-driver to Garth Tander in the 2011 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 and a shock victory with Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport in Adelaide in 2016.
The latter of those was a chaotic, rain-shortened affair in which Percat inherited the lead late in the piece when five drivers in front of him had to peel off to meet their mandatory fuel drop.
Strategy did still come to the fore in Sydney, with the need to ration five sets of tyres across three races having a major influence on how the Sunday encounters played out.
Percat had better tyres at his disposal for Race 8, which allowed him to pass Jamie Whincup for the lead in the second stint after coming to pressure the pole-sitter during the first.
“It was nice to win it not with a cloud over it (like) the Adelaide 500 win,” he remarked.
“It was good fun, this tyre strategy stuff, because you’re sitting on the grid and you’re looking around at who’s with you and it’s kind of like playing poker but you’re playing it with 24 people on the fly and you can’t actually see their expressions.
“It was mega fun and I think it was by Lap 3 or 4 when I realised that Shane (van Gisbergen) had nothing on his car that was any good and then Scotty (McLaughlin) obviously didn’t have a very good tyre on at the start of that race.
“I thought, ‘You know what, we just need to have a crack here, all in, see how we go,’ and had a bit of fun with Jamie there, and just kind of nursed it home.”
Percat finished fifth and ninth in the weekend’s other two races, leaving him seventh in the championship on the way to the Truck Assist Winton SuperSprint on July 18-19.