WAU on road to redemption after Winton test

Chaz Mostert at Winton. Picture: Ross Gibb

Walkinshaw Andretti United drivers Chaz Mostert and Nick Percat are confident they’ll be back on form this month as they bid to make their Perth nightmare a distant memory.

The WAU Commodores were inexplicably off the pace at Wanneroo Raceway, failing to crack the top 20 even once in three qualifying sessions.

The net result was an organisation that is hunting championship glory – and with three wins already to its name in 2022 – left Western Australia a measly sixth in the teams’ championship.

The opportunity to test at Winton Motor Raceway on Tuesday proved timely ahead of the Pizza Hut Winton SuperSprint on May 21-22, and Mostert indicated an aggressive approach had been taken.

“Any time you get to go testing is obviously good to try to fix some things you have been struggling with, or an opportunity to try to learn something out of the day,” the #25 Mobil 1 Optus Racing steerer told Speedcafe.com.

“So for us, there was a big test plan for both cars to get through.

“There really wasn’t a lot of laps we did but some big changes [which] took up a lot of time through the day.

“So for me, it was a very productive day with some positives and some negatives, and as long as we’re learning something out of it, it was a good day.

“I think we got a bit of a direction heading towards the next round and no doubt about it, I know we will be stronger than what we were at Perth.

“That one really hurt us a little bit, but obviously you have got to look at the positives and the negatives and it gave us an opportunity to be pretty aggressive at the test and keep working on our car.

“So I’m looking forward to getting to Winton and seeing how we can go.”

Mostert reiterated that he’s “pretty confident to say that I don’t think we’ll be genuinely 24th and 25th, both cars” and rather he is upbeat about netting strong results.

That was a sentiment mirrored by Percat, who qualified 25th for all three Perth races.

“I hope to never, ever do that again,” said the 2011 Bathurst 1000 winner.

“It was a good day to be able to have a good solid plan and get a few things on and off the car to see what it did,” he continued, with relation to the Winton test.

Nick Percat. Picture: Walkinshaw Andretti United

“Obviously you’re just testing new items and identifying what went wrong in Perth and trying to make it better.

“I’m confident we will be much better than we were in Perth and the good thing with the team is that they have just not stopped working since Perth to try to make the car better and find out what went wrong.

“We’re excited to get to Winton now and hopefully put our best foot forward and show everyone it was just an odd weekend out.”

Percat noted his #2 Holden is starting to feel like his own Supercar, having spent the previous five years in a Brad Jones Racing car, and that the chance to take risks without consequence at Winton had been beneficial to that.

For now, the 33-year-old feels WAU’s teams’ championship target has shifted towards protecting its top three status.

Just three points separates Erebus Motorsport (fourth), Grove Racing (fifth), and WAU, with Tickford Racing roughly 150 points ahead in third. Both Triple Eight Race Engineering and Dick Johnson Racing are another 400-plus points clear of Tickford out in front.

“Hopefully Winton is kind to us, Chaz has been good at Darwin the last few years, and we can just get a bit of momentum back really and into the enduros and the big points paying rounds,” Percat added.

“Hopefully we get to the end of the year and look back and go, it was a disaster in Perth but we didn’t pay too much of a price for it.”

WAU will run with Holden Commodores through to the end of this season before making a high-profile switch to Ford Mustangs when the Gen3 ruleset debuts next year.

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