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Where it went wrong for MSR in New Zealand

THERE is no panic for Matt Stone Racing star Nick Percat despite his #10 Bendix Camaro going from victory lane at Albert Park to struggle street in Taupō.

Percat shone in his first two rounds for the Yatala squad, recording top 10 finishes in all six races including an excellent win.

Then, out of nowhere, he found himself last on the grid for both Taupō races.

The 35-year-old took the blame on that front, with a Saturday spin followed by an untidy run in Sunday qualifying.

Car pace not vanished though, as teammate Cameron Hill proved by making the Saturday Top 10 Shootout.

A strategy gamble to pit Percat early in the Saturday race was brought undone by an untimely Safety Car (and the new procedures which prevent drivers from going full pelt under such conditions), and then to make matters worse he was pinged 10 seconds for a Safety Car infringement.

The result was 19th. Sunday was only slightly better, taking 16th.

But that’s not a true representation of their New Zealand form, says the five-time race winner who is sixth in the championship.

“Probably one that got away a little bit,” was Percat’s assessment.

“Car was fast in (Race 2); too many driver errors in qualifying cost us a decent shot at it. Thankfully the car has come back straight again.

There were still smiles in the Percat camp. Pic: Supplied/Christian Hartung

“We’ll re-group and get ready for Perth.”

He added it was enjoyable Sunday race, even if it was further back than desirable.

“We went from 24th to 16th with some big battles along the way. Probably just a little bit tough around here to get momentum in the race from the back, especially with the tyre life and bits and pieces like that,” said Percat.

“I had an epic race with (Will) Davison and Frosty (Mark Winterbottom) pretty much from start to finish – all three of us probably wish we were further up. Looking forward to going to Perth soon and getting the Bendix Racing car back up the front.”

Cameron Hill donned Supaglass colours at Taupō. Pic: Supplied/Christian Hartug

Hill’s Saturday was ruined by pitlane mayhem under Safety Car conditions, after which the Car #4 crew rolled the dice to immediately stop again, but was left with too big a mountain to climb.

Race 2 was stronger and 11th was the reward.

Per the live pitlane concept, MSR will shuffle down to the 13th and 14th garages at next month’s Perth SuperSprint, in line with its slide to seventh in the teams’ championship.

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