Percat tops Darwin Supercars Practice 1

Nick Percat

Brad Jones Racing’s Nick Percat has set the pace in Practice 1 of Supercars’ Merlin Darwin Triple Crown.

In the first official hit-out for the super soft tyre, Percat’s 1:06.1695s with the chequered flag flying would be the very fastest lap of the 40-minute session at Hidden Valley Raceway.

His effort in the #8 R&J Batteries ZB Commodore edged previous fast man Anton De Pasquale (#11 Shell V-Power Mustang) by 0.1209s, with Cameron Waters (#6 Monster Energy Mustang) third at 0.1362s off the pace.

“It did feel good,” said Percat, the only driver to beat the fastest practice lap time from last year’s two Darwin events (1:06.2401s), which was set on a soft tyre.

“We had a very well-structured programme and we just stuck to it and went through the changes like we wanted and the end result was a pretty fast lap time.

“Obviously being Practice 1, I think Chaz [Mostert] was very fast on the used tyre but we made a change at our last run before new tyres and it actually really hooked up and was pretty quick then.

“There’s a little bit more to come but early days in Practice 1. It was nice to have a drive on the super soft and back at Darwin, I love being up here and it’s good to give some branding and awareness to R&J Batteries as well while we’re out there.”

Team 18 duo Scott Pye (#20 DeWalt ZB Commodore) and Mark Winterbottom (#18 Irwin Tools ZB Commodore) rounded out the top five.

The latter had been fastest for the vast majority of the session, kicking things off with a 1:06.3349s on his first hot lap, which would remain his fastest.

Chaz Mostert (#25 Mobil 1 Appliances Online ZB Commodore) initially roaded a set of tyres before moving to second, 0.0253s off Winterbottom’s pace, by the time he had completed his first run proper.

Those two remained the top two until the ‘happy hour’ right at the end of proceedings, when De Pasquale went 1:06.2904s in the final minute before the chequered flag.

While Pye’s 1:06.3291s at the end left him fifth, it was his first of only two runs that was a source of interest given the new specification of rubber for the weekend.

He spent 23 laps on his initial set of tyres, including in and outs, clocking mid-sevens deep into the run before setting a 1:07.8524s just prior to pitting.

Mostert was shuffled back to sixth in the end with the time he set on his opening run, while David Reynolds (#26 Penrite Mustang) ended up seventh at 0.2683s off the pace.

Rounding out the top 10 were James Courtney (#44 Boost Mobile Mustang), Todd Hazelwood (#14 Pizza Hut ZB Commodore), and Jack Le Brocq (#5 Truck Assist Mustang).

Championship leader Shane van Gisbergen ended up 11th on a personal best 1:06.6349s from his first run proper, which would be 0.4654s off the ultimate pace.

Red Bull Ampol Racing put a new front bar on his #97 ZB Commodore midway through the session due to a splitter vibration, while van Gisbergen subsequently had multiple offs.

Will Davison was 13th in the #17 Shell V-Power Mustang and Jamie Whincup 14th in the #88 Red Bull Ampol ZB Commodore, while it was the top 22 cars covered by just under a second.

Practice 2, a 30-minute session, starts at 13:20 local time/13:50 AEST.

Results: Practice 1

Pos Num Team/Sponsor Driver Car Fastest lap Split
1 8 R&J Batteries Nick Percat Holden Commodore ZB 1:06.1695  
2 11 Shell V-Power Racing Team Anton De Pasquale Ford Mustang GT 1:06.2904 0:00.1209
3 6 Monster Energy Racing Cameron Waters Ford Mustang GT 1:06.3057 0:00.1362
4 20 DEWALT Racing Scott Pye Holden Commodore ZB 1:06.3291 0:00.1596
5 18 IRWIN Racing Mark Winterbottom Holden Commodore ZB 1:06.3349 0:00.1654
6 25 Mobil 1 Appliances Online Chaz Mostert Holden Commodore ZB 1:06.3602 0:00.1907
7 26 Penrite Racing David Reynolds Ford Mustang GT 1:06.4378 0:00.2683
8 44 Boost Mobile Racing James Courtney Ford Mustang GT 1:06.5610 0:00.3915
9 14 Pizza Hut Todd Hazelwood Holden Commodore ZB 1:06.5754 0:00.4059
10 5 Truck Assist Racing Jack Le Brocq Ford Mustang GT 1:06.6160 0:00.4465
11 97 Red Bull Ampol Racing Team Shane van Gisbergen Holden Commodore ZB 1:06.6349 0:00.4654
12 9 Erebus Motorsport William Brown Holden Commodore ZB 1:06.6699 0:00.5004
13 17 Shell V-Power Racing Team Will Davison Ford Mustang GT 1:06.7243 0:00.5548
14 88 Red Bull Ampol Racing Team Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore ZB 1:06.7495 0:00.5800
15 99 Erebus Boost Mobile Racing Brodie Kostecki Holden Commodore ZB 1:06.7548 0:00.5853
16 7 NED Whisky Racing Andre Heimgartner Ford Mustang GT 1:06.7990 0:00.6295
17 96 Coca-Cola Racing Macauley Jones Holden Commodore ZB 1:06.8213 0:00.6518
18 19 Local Legends Fabian Coulthard Holden Commodore ZB 1:06.8910 0:00.7215
19 27 Walkinshaw Andretti United Kurt Kostecki Holden Commodore ZB 1:07.0033 0:00.8338
20 34 UNIT Racing Jake Kostecki Holden Commodore ZB 1:07.1024 0:00.9329
21 4 SCT Logistics Jack Smith Holden Commodore ZB 1:07.1537 0:00.9842
22 35 Yellow Cover Racing Zane Goddard Holden Commodore ZB 1:07.1545 0:00.9850
23 2 Mobil 1 Middy’s Racing Bryce Fullwood Holden Commodore ZB 1:07.3309 0:01.1614
24 55 Castrol Racing Thomas Randle Ford Mustang GT 1:07.4619 0:01.2924
25 3 CoolDrive Racing Tim Slade Ford Mustang GT 1:07.5111 0:01.3416
26 22 Team SYDNEY Garry Jacobson Holden Commodore ZB 1:07.6438 0:01.4743

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