Supercars: Highlights from Supercars Practice 2 at the 2017 Winton SuperSprint, Nick Percat setting the fastest time – then running out of fuel.
BRAD Jones Racing’s Nick Percat is hoping to replicate teammate Tim Slade’s success from last year at Winton after emerging as the surprise pacesetter on a rain-marred opening day of Supercars practice.
In slippery and, at times, soaking conditions at the country Victorian track, the Holden driver rocketed to the top of the standings after a late flying lap in the second practice session.
Percat produced the day’s fastest time, more than a second ahead of DJR Team Penske star Scott McLaughlin, Erebus driver David Reynolds and Fabian Coulthard.
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Running a low fuel load late in the session, Percat, who sits 22nd in the Supercars championship, then ran out of petrol after his pace-setting lap.
Although he conceded it was only practice, Percat said the performance was a relief for everyone at the team to deliver on their pre-season form.
“At BJR’s home track, it’s pretty cool. It was obviously crazy conditions for everyone today,’’ Percat said.
“I had a pretty action-packed day when I speared into the back of Scotty Pye out of control (in the first practice session).
“But it’s good for BJR. I think everyone in car (number) eight needs a bit of a morale booster, even though it’s only practice two, I think when I crossed the line there was a little bit of a first pump because it’s hard to be at the top in any session at this level.
“These boys are going so hard and so quick, so I think for everyone in car eight and BJR, it’s a bit of a relief to get a decent result. It’s the first blip on the radar where we have kind of showed the form that we hoped to show in pre-season.’’
While conditions improved for second practice, the first practice session was hit by soaking rain with drivers struggling to keep their cars on the track as they skidded off the slippery track into the mud.
Percat said he was now aiming to replicate the success of teammate Slade, who won both races at Winton last year for the Albury-based squad.
“The whole team has been excited to get back here since they finished here last year doing donuts in the grass,’’ Percat said.
“It’s definitely a good track here for us, obviously (former BJR driver) Fabian was super fast here, Brighty (Jason Bright) has won races here, Tim has won races here, sit it was one that we were keen to get to and have a good weekend hopefully.’’
Ford ace McLaughlin continued his strong form after his back-to-back wins in Perth, setting the fastest time in the challenging conditions in the first session before emerging with the day’s second fastest time.
The Supercars have another practice, qualifying and 40-lap race on Saturday.
Scroll down for a rundown on Practice 1, or relive the day’s action with our live blog below.
FORD driver Scott McLaughlin survived the elements to emerge as the fastest driver in a rain-marred opening Supercars practice session at Winton today.
In soaking and slippery conditions at the country Victorian track, the DJR Team Penske star topped the practice times with his 1:43.36 lap ahead of Nissan’s Todd Kelly and Prodrive Racing’s Cameron Waters. Rick Kelly and Red Bull’s defending champion Shane van Gisbergen rounded out the top-five.
A host of drivers struggled to keep their cars on the track as the saturating rain continued to hammer the circuit during the session.
McLaughlin admitted after practice the soaking conditions had been testing.
“It was at the end there, it was sketchy,’’ McLaughlin said.
“Going down the front straight I was basically aqua-planing basically from the last corner all the way down to turn three.
“I knew the car was OK … I just didn’t want to get any dents on it.’’
McLaughlin enters the round at Winton following back-to-back wins in the last round at Perth.
The Supercars drivers have another practice session later this afternoon when the wet weather is expected to persist.
Supercars: Highlights from Supercars Practice 1 at the 2017 Winton SuperSprint, Scott McLaughlin setting the fastest time in a dismally wet session.
Originally published as Percat nabs practice glory – then runs dry