Nick Percat claimed his second Supercars Championship race win in as many weekends, triumphing with a fine drive in the second race of the weekend at Sydney Motorsport Park.
The Brad Jones Racing driver’s run to victory came through the decision to run only of Soft tyres for the duration of the 32-lap race, having banked the quicker rubber after an all-Hard strategy in Saturday night’s opening race.
Last night’s race-winner Scott McLaughlin once again started the race from pole position on hard tyres and was quickly overcome by the Soft-shod duo of Shane van Gisbergen and Percat after the start.
Van Gisbergen and Percat quickly assumed a 1-2 in the opening stint, with the latter glued to the Red Bull Holden Racing driver’s back bumper before diving into the pits for his compulsory tyre change on Lap 12.
The Red Bull crew should have responded to Percat’s attempt at an undercut on the very next lap, but as was the case last night they opted to keep the Kiwi on track for a long first stint in the hope that he could take advantage of fresher tyres in the closing stages of the race.
Once again the strategy call was a failure. By the time van Gisbergen made his stop with ten laps to go, he emerged well down the order and had too much work to do to get back to the front. He would eventually finish the race in eighth place.
Percat was left on his own to secure a comfortable win with an 8.8-second margin to McLaughlin’s DJR Team Penske teammate Fabian Coulthard who also opted for a Soft-Soft strategy.
The battle for the final podium spot was simply epic, with McLaughlin charging through the upper midfield after his switch to Soft tyres. By the penultimate lap he was up to fifth position and hot on the heels of a tight scrap for third place between the Fords of James Courtney and Rick Kelly.
Courtney was struggling for tyre grip and desperate to keep the chasing cars behind him in his quest for his first podium finish of the season. On the final lap, McLaughlin forced his way past Kelly through Corporate Hill to claim fourth, and when Courtney had a slow exit from the final corner it was down to a sprint between the pair to the finish line. They crossed the line just 0.025 seconds apart in McLaughlin’s favour, while Kelly similarly lost out to Chaz Mostert’s WAU Holden in a similar dash to the chequered flag.
The Soft-Soft tyre strategy paid dividends for Garry Jacobson (Matt Stone Racing) and Jack Smith (Brad Jones Racing), who claimed career-best finishes in seventh and tenth respectively.
|2020 Australian Supercars Championship Sydney SuperSprint II – Race 11 Final Classification (32 laps)|
|1.||Nick Percat||Dunlop Super Dealer Racing||50:22.647|
|2.||Fabian Coulthard||Shell V-Power Racing Team||+ 8.874|
|3.||Scott McLaughlin||Shell V-Power Racing Team||+ 19.636|
|4.||James Courtney||Boost Mobile Racing||+ 19.661|
|5.||Chaz Mostert||Mobil 1 TM Appliances||+ 20.463|
|6.||Rick Kelly||Castrol Racing||+ 20.607|
|7.||Garry Jacobson||Yellow Cover Racing||+ 21.073|
|8.||Shane van Gisbergen||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||+ 27.504|
|9.||Cameron Waters||Monster Energy Racing||+ 27.673|
|10.||Jack Smith||SCT Motor Sports||+ 31.228|
|11.||David Reynolds||Penrite Racing||+ 55.770|
|12.||Andre Heimgartner||NED Whisky Racing||+ 56.668|
|13.||Anton de Pasquale||Penrite Racing||+ 57.377|
|14.||Mark Winterbottom||IRWIN Racing||+ 1:04.404|
|15.||Bryce Fullwood||Mobil 1 TM Middy’s Racing||+ 1:06.782|
|16.||Jack Le Brocq||Supercheap Auto Racing||+ 1:07.398|
|17.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||+ 1:07.641|
|18.||Chris Pither||Team SYDNEY||+ 1:08.163|
|19.||Lee Holdsworth||Truck Assist Racing||+ 1:08.654|
|20.||Todd Hazelwood||Brut Military Grade||+ 1:12.103|
|21.||Scott Pye||DEWALT Racing||+ 1:17.089|
|22.||Alex Davison||Local Legends Racing||+ 1:20.803|
|23.||Macauley Jones||Team CoolDrive||1 lap behind|
|24.||Zane Goddard||UNIT Racing||1 lap behind|
- To be advised
Image via Race News
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