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Wednesday, May 29, 2024


NICK Percat hopes to reap the rewards of a mid-winter move from the Gold Coast back to Melbourne through the business end of the 2022 Repco Supercars Championship.

It’s no secret that Percat’s reunion with the Clayton outfit now known as Walkinshaw Andretti United has not lived up to either party’s expectations as yet.

Percat enters this weekend’s Sandown SuperSprint buried 15th in the points. Qualifying has been at the crux of the struggle, winding up dead-last in more than a quarter of the grid-setting sessions to date.

Significant progress was seen last month at The Bend Motorsport Park though, the #2 Mobil 1 NTI Racing ZB Commodore displaying its strongest single-lap form since Albert Park in April.

That just so happened to come in the first event since Percat uprooted his life post-Townsville to relocate interstate with the specific purpose of being closer to team headquarters.

Percat had moved from Melbourne to the Gold Coast 12 months ago, joining many drivers – including his now WAU teammate Chaz Mostert – in the Sunshine State.

“Bruce (Stewart, WAU team principal) and the whole team were keen to have me back in Melbourne so it was a pretty easy decision really,” the South Australian product told V8 Sleuth.

“It’s been good, just floating around the workshop a bit.

“It’s nice to just be able to go in for debrief rather than phone in and stuff like that, so I’m keen to get stuck in and be living back here.”

Percat’s #2 Mobil 1 NTI Holden. Pic: Walkinshaw Andretti United

The action at Sandown this weekend unfolds merely 6km from WAU’s base.

Of his upturn in form at Tailem Bend, Percat declared he never lost faith that progress would eventually come.

“I knew it was all going to unfold the right way, it was just being a little bit patient, and having Shippy (engineer Grant McPherson) on the car now and sorting out a few processes and bits and pieces,” he said.

Having dropped as low as sixth in the teams’ championship, WAU is now back up to fourth with Tickford Racing’s in-form lead pair of Cameron Waters and James Courtney in its sights.

“JC is driving really well at the moment and he’s scoring good points with Cam, so it’s going to be hard to beat them, but that’s the goal, to try to be top three in the teams’ at the end of the year,” said Percat.

“Hopefully Sandown goes well for us and we can get some momentum heading into the back end of the year.

“The races at the end of this championship are brutal so anything is still possible.”

The final three rounds of the year will all come at traditional WAU strongholds: Bathurst, Gold Coast and Adelaide.

Last year the squad conquered the Bathurst 1000, via Mostert and Lee Holdsworth, for the first time in a decade since Percat and Garth Tander’s 2011 triumph for the Holden Racing Team.

Before that final trio of events is a visit to Pukekohe Park Raceway which, like Gold Coast and Adelaide, has not featured on a Supercars calendar since the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

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