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HomeNewsRevealed: How close Percat came to running out of fuel

Revealed: How close Percat came to running out of fuel

NICK Percat walked the tightrope en route to his stunning Sunday win at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix – and not just in terms of staving off Triple Eight’s young guns.

It quickly became clear that the #10 Bendix Camaro Supercar was tight on fuel when he needed a friendly push back to the pits from Tim Slade on the warm-down lap.

But just how close did it get?

“Two laps to go, I knew we were going to be very tight,” Percat’s race engineer Jack Bellotti told V8 Sleuth.

“And then the last corner we were basically out of fuel and it coughed when he was weaving on the way to the chequered flag, so you can’t be tighter than that.

“Matt (Stone, team owner) was patting me on the back saying congratulations and I pushed him off and pointed to the fuel pot!

“But it’s a lot of fun. The drama makes it more exciting, right?”

Jack Bellotti (right) with MSR team principal Pete Vale. Pic: Supplied

While the victory was a popular result for Percat after a torrid couple of seasons at Walkinshaw Andretti United, it was also a major breakthrough for Bellotti.

Having seen plenty of change over the years at Matt Stone Racing since joining in 2019 and debuting as Zane Goddard’s race engineer in 2021, this marked not only Bellotti’s first podium but his first win.

Bellotti missed MSR’s maiden victory last year in Darwin as he opted to be with his wife for the birth of their second child, opening the door for Matt Saunders to be Jack Le Brocq’s engineer that weekend.

Yesterday, it was Bellotti’s turn in the limelight.

“It means the world,” he said.

“It gives us the confidence that we can do this. Like you always think you can and you dream about it, but now we have done it – we know we can do this again.

“This team has been building and building and building for years and we’re here now, so I just want to keep doing it.”

Matt Stone Racing celebrates. Pic: Supplied

Bellotti noted there are differences between working with Le Brocq and Percat, but he’s pleased with how quickly the new-for-2024 combination has meshed.

“There’s always a teething, bedding-in period, but to be this quick straightaway… I think Nick’s personality and mannerisms are similar to mine where we can both run a little bit hot sometimes, but it’s working,” he said.

“We’re both pushing 100 percent.”

Percat sits fourth in the championship only behind Will Brown, Broc Feeney and Chaz Mostert.

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