Frustrated Percat explains Tasmania tangle

Nick Percat finished 23rd in Race 3. Picture: Mark Horsburgh

Mobil 1 NTI Racing’s Nick Percat has explained how his hopes of a clean Race 3 in the Repco Supercars Championship were dashed early.

On Lap 2 of the opening race at the Ned Whisky Tasmania SuperSprint, Percat and Shell V-Power Racing Team driver Anton De Pasquale interlocked wheels.

That subsequently broke a steering arm on the #2 Holden ZB Commodore, forcing Percat to pit at the end of that lap.

In the end, Percat would come home 24th, completing 38 of the 44-lap race distance.

The incident also had ramifications for De Pasquale, who fell to 20th after the coming-together.

The #11 pilot would go on to recover to sixth in a race won by Red Bull Ampol Racing’s Shane van Gisbergen.

“Anton just turned in at Turn 2 and rubbed front wheels and bent the front steering arm,” Percat told Speedcafe.com.

“He was getting boxed pretty hard. Then we just went through Turn 1 side-by-side and then he just turned in a little bit early and hit my front wheel, so maybe he didn’t know I was there.

“We were literally wheel-to-wheel and then it just bent the steering arm. We had to replace the steering arm or we were out, gone.

“It was annoying because you look at Anton, he finished sixth and my car actually felt good considering we were just rolling around at the end there.”

The incident was investigated by the stewards, although neither Percat nor De Pasquale were found to be at fault.

It’s the second incident in consecutive races for Percat, who at Sydney Motorsport Park had a collision with #20 Seiko Racing driver Scott Pye.

“It’s very frustrating,” said Percat.

“It was awkward, just interlocking wheels. Two in a row.”

Having only qualified 17th for Race 3, the South Australian said he’ll need to improve in tomorrow’s two 12-minute qualifiers.

“We just need to qualify better,” said Percat.

“I think obviously Chaz [Mostert] had really good pace then and mine felt pretty good, all things considered.

“Obviously I was rolling around on used tyres. We’ll see how we go.”

Qualifying for Race 4 and Race 5 get underway at 10:35 local time/AEDT and 10:57 local time/AEDT.

Race 4 is slated to start at 13:00 local time/AEDT with Race 5 at 15:55 local time/AEDT.

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