EVEN Nick Percat laughs with bemusement at how a fifth successive top 10 end-of-season championship ranking remains a realistic proposition.
The 2011 Bathurst 1000 winner has had a horror season, predominantly caused by poor qualifying results.
But there have been positive signs of late, just in time for the bumper Bathurst/Gold Coast/Adelaide home stretch.
“I think it was just back to where we should be – when we don’t have an amazing weekend we should always be in the back of the 10,” Percat told V8 Sleuth of his Pukekohe round.
“So it just felt like being back to normal, which is great.
“It just rebuilds a little bit of the confidence. I never randomly thought I couldn’t drive but it was just more like one or two good sessions and you get a bit of confidence back.”
Percat has previously been a fixture inside the championship’s top 10, having led the Brad Jones Racing charge with 10th in 2018, ninth in 2019, and seventh in each of 2020 and 2021.
Shane van Gisbergen, Jamie Whincup and Chaz Mostert are the only other drivers to finish each of those seasons inside the 10.
Percat is currently 15th but only 155 points behind 10th-placed Tim Slade, with Mark Winterbottom, James Courtney, Will Brown and Lee Holdsworth wedged in between.
“There’s still huge amounts to play for; if we can have a strong three weekends, I could salvage something to make it look respectable for what we have had this year,” said the Walkinshaw Andretti United recruit.
“The goal is to try to hopefully sneak it back into the back of the 10 in the championship. I still actually don’t know how we’re (15th) with the year that we’ve had.
“That would be a big win if we get back there, which I think we actually can because it’s not a big points split and we’re going to tracks that traditionally I love and the team does well at.”
Percat will combine with six-time Bathurst 1000 podium finisher Warren Luff at this year’s Great Race, practice for which begins on Thursday.