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Percat/Luff car unchanged since rollout

NICK Percat’s gradual return to form has taken its next step, with a smooth run into the Top 10 Shootout at the Repco Bathurst 1000.

The Walkinshaw Andretti United driver finally started to feel comfortable last month following a series of pre-Pukekohe fixes.

That’s come just at the right time, with things shaping up well for the biggest event of the year, for which he has perennial Great Race contender Warren Luff by his side.

Percat never looked like missing the cut, entrenched within the 10 for almost the entirety of yesterday’s wet qualifying.

The 2011 Bathurst 1000 winner revealed post-session that he’d been keeping his cards close to his chest throughout practice after rolling out of the truck well.

“Practice 1 I knew I was on, I knew I would be in the Top 10 Shootout,” Percat told V8 Sleuth.

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“The car has been a jet. Luffy was on a bloody good lap (on Thursday) when the tyre had the puncture; he was on for P3.

“So Car #2, honestly we have not touched it since it rolled out of the truck. Even in quali, we basically ran a dry car with wets on it.

“It’s been a very nice weekend, very smooth. It feels like how it should have been all year.

“Obviously we uncovered a few little problems before New Zealand and it has sharpened it up a lot. It just gives me confidence to do my job again.”

Percat (right) with Chaz Mostert. Pic: Walkinshaw Andretti United

Having struggled for qualifying pace all season, Percat said the immediate feel of the car had allowed him, Luff and engineer Grant McPherson to switch straight to Sunday preparations.

“We’ve had one eye on Sunday all weekend,” he said.

“It’s why we hadn’t run tyres in Practice 1. We didn’t put good tyres on Luffy in Practice 2 because we actually are trying to run 120km-plus tyres on the car to see the balance in race trim.

“It has always been one eye firmly on the race so that’s why it is an added bonus to have a race trim car in the Shootout and start inside the top 10.

“I’ve not been in this position before where in Practice 1 after the first run I said, ‘look boys, we can focus on the race car’. It’s pretty cool.”

Both WAU cars will feature in this afternoon’s Shootout, with Chaz Mostert having qualified third fastest.

Mostert is sharing the #25 Mobil 1 Optus Commodore with Fabian Coulthard.

Two of WAU’s three co-directors are at Mount Panorama: namely Zak Brown and Ryan Walkinshaw.

The Repco Supercars Championship field is first on-track today at 10:20am AEDT for Practice 5, which is a co-driver only session.

The Shootout is scheduled to start at 5:05pm, with heavy rain forecast to drench the Mount Panorama circuit.

Percat has runs on the board in wet Shootouts, having defied such conditions to grab pole position last year at Sydney Motorsport Park.

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