Jones explains Percat tyre pressure drama
Sunday 20th June, 2021 - 10:33am
Brad Jones has explained the root cause of the tyre pressure problem Nick Percat encountered prior to Race 12 at the Merlin Darwin Triple Crown that had put his Saturday podium at risk.
This morning it was confirmed Brad Jones Racing had been stripped of the 86 teams’ championship points that Percat netted with his third place finish at Hidden Valley Raceway.
The #8 Holden ZB Commodore was allowed to keep its podium finish and drivers’ championship points, however.
That came after a lengthy hearing following the race, which lasted several hours.
Speaking with Mark Larkham prior to Qualifying for Race 13, Jones said he believed Percat had suffered a double puncture on the warm-up lap.
As it turned out, that was not the case.
Jones confirmed a miscommunication with the tyre warming procedure meant Percat rolled up to the grid with tyre pressures under the minimum 17 psi threshold.
“It was one of those things, all the cars go out with the same tyre pressure, which the great thing about having all the data available in those hearings is Supercars can look and see what all the other cars are doing, what we’re doing,” said Jones.
“All four of our cars went out with the same tyre pressure, Nick went around to the grid, we saw the two right were dropping in pressure and were getting down towards the minimum, we thought possibly we could have a puncture.
“So we went and spoke to Adrian [Burgess, Supercars head of motorsport], told him we had a problem on the right-hand side. We put the two tyres we had on the grid but they weren’t pressured so they were up five psi.
“[What had happened] wasn’t clear to us until later so then we went back through the data and did the same thing.
“We were in with the stewards for three or four hours last night and it turns out that there was a bit of a miscommunication between us and Nick about how much tyre warming he needed, how much brake energy he needed to get into the car.
“The guys drag the brakes and do whatever they can to get temperature into the tyres, everyone does it.
“So then we got to the grid, we were still above the pressure, we could see them going down, and then about 10 minutes before the race start rather than let it fluctuate around 16.8 and 17 [psi], we got on the front foot and went and saw the head of motorsport and said ‘we potentially have a problem, the two tyres on the right side are dropping faster than the ones on the left’.
“The ones on the right are also in the shade and so he allowed us to change them. They checked them for punctures and then we had the hearing last night and then just got the outcome two minutes ago.”
Percat leads the way for Brad Jones Racing in the drivers’ championship, sitting seventh.
The four-time race winner this morning qualified 10th and seventh for the two Sunday races, while Will Davison powered to pole position for both occasions.