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Hill, MSR relish special start to 2024

A SERIES of firsts for Cameron Hill and second in the teams’ championship characterised a memorable day at the Mountain for Matt Stone Racing.

MSR has been quick in every session at the Thrifty Bathurst 500 and Race 1 this afternoon was no different.

Hill ran third early, both he and teammate Nick Percat led chunks of the race thanks to aggressive strategies, and they came home fifth and sixth on merit.

While Percat has stood on the top step of a Supercars podium before, including at Bathurst, for Hill this was a maiden top five in the main game.

“I got a mega start and got up to third; was running along strong in the early phase and started to stretch the gap to the cars behind,” said Hill.

Cameron Hill. Pic: Supplied

“The two Triple Eight cars ahead of us pitted and I was then in the lead of the race and we were trying to go long to make the later stints a bit shorter.

“Unfortunately I made a small mistake and almost threw it off, but recovered and had to make a few passes after that.

“We regained some ground and got back up to P5. It’s a personal best for me, Nick finished sixth, and we’re second in the teams’ championship after Day 1, so it’s been an awesome start for the team.”

Percat praised the strategy of his crew led by race engineer Jack Bellotti, the #10 Bendix Camaro having run five laps longer than any other car in the first stanza.

“We went fairly aggressive and went long and had two really quick stints home which was really good fun,” said Percat.

Nick Percat with Jack Bellotti. Pic: Supplied

“When you’ve got grip and a light fuel load, the car feels great and you can throw some big passes on other cars and it all went well.

“If the last Safety Car didn’t happen I thought Cam could have potentially got fourth and I would have been fifth, but Day 1, we’ll take that.

“It’s definitely a positive start; it’s probably one of my best first races of the season, so if we back it up tomorrow it will be good to leave here with a really solid haul of points.

“It makes the first half of the season much easier when you can hit the ground running.”

Supercars action resumes tomorrow with Qualifying for Race 2 starting 9:30am AEDT.

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