Engine failure scuppers possible top five for Percat

Nick Percat

Nick PercatAn engine failure ultimately put paid to a possible top five finish for Nick Percat in what was a bruising day for Brad Jones Racing.

Three of the team’s entries failed to finish Race 19 at the NTI Townsville SuperSprint with Macauley Jones and Todd Hazelwood both retiring early due to damage.

Percat and Jack Smith were duly left as the remaining Brad Jones Racing; however, the former was forced to retire shortly after the midway point due to an engine failure.

Speaking after the race, the four-time Supercars race winner said he was disappointed having been as high as fourth in the drivers’ championship but has fallen to the tail of the top 10.

“Saturdays really aren’t being that kind to us, we’re just pouring points away, which is really annoying,” said Percat.

“We were trying to stick in that top three, four, five battle and we keep giving them a big head start. It’s annoying.

“The race was actually shaping up alright. We got a really good start, made up a few spots, and then I was just sitting behind Fabian (Coulthard) and (David) Reynolds.

“Obviously we went a lap later to get tyre (advantage) over them for later in the stint. It was all kind of shaping up to probably finish fifth or sixth, so a bit annoying.

“It’s frustrating to have an engine failure. Not sure what yet, but a disastrous day for BJR.”

The CoolDrive Racing Holden ZB Commodore of Jones was among those left wounded in the Lap 1 incident at Turn 2.

His car was worst affected of those caught up in the melee and was forced to retire at the end of the first lap.

Hazelwood, meanwhile, was sandwiched between the outside wall and an out of control Shane van Gisbergen.

As a result, Hazelwood’s newly liveried car sustained rear end damage and was forced to the pits. The 24-year-old ventured back on track but ultimately retired on Lap 7.

“We saw Macauley got caught up in it, and Todd’s up in it too,” Percat added.

“It’s disappointing because he’s got new branding on the car with Black Duck Seat Covers and they haven’t got a run.

“We’ll come back tomorrow, but it’s annoying because we missed out on a lot of data as a group for the race car for tomorrow.

“At least I got a stint in, so we got a bit of tyre wear and stuff like that.”

It’s the second DNF for Percat in three events after he was caught up in a crash at the Darwin Triple Crown.

Back-to-back qualifying sessions for Race 20 and Race 21 get underway from 10:40 local time/AEST on Sunday.

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