Holden star’s sobering warning to Supercars

Holden driver Nick Percat has warned the enthralling racing seen during the Supercars’ return in Sydney on the weekend may not be repeated next time out at Winton.

Percat stormed to victory during race two of the weekend at Sydney Motorsport Park, finishing ahead of Jamie Whincup and Scott McLaughlin to record his first win in four years.

It was the highlight of a solid weekend for the 2011 Bathurst champion, who finished fifth and ninth in the other two races.

With a number of rule changes in force due to COVID-19 restrictions, the general consensus was the weekend provided much better racing than is often the case.

With refuelling banned, and tyre allocation restricted across the weekend, drivers had to pick and choose their moments, especially with the track renowned for being hard on the rubber.

It meant a mixed strategy between the cars, and plenty of excitement for the fans.

But Percat says the next race at Winton may not be so entertaining, given the circuit is a lot easier on tyres.

“Sydney Motorsport Park is definitely a track that lends itself to that type of racing,” Percat told Wide World of Sports.

Nick Percat leads Jamie Whincup at Sydney Motorsport Park. (AAP)

“We’ll still have to make sure we get it right for the rounds coming up, because we need a tyre that degrades to get those differences in car speeds.

“If we keep having that type of strategy game that we saw on the weekend that will keep the racing exciting.

“They just need to make sure they pick the right tyre for the surface, that’s what makes the racing good.”

The shortened format also got the thumbs up from the drivers, with the cars only on track on Saturday and Sunday.

“I loved it,” Percat said.

“I liked the fact it was very quick between sessions, very short and sharp.

“The races were fun, but obviously Sydney Motorsport Park is a circuit with a lot of tyre deg, so it opened it up to some good racing.

“The races were really good, and there was plenty of passing, so it was a win all round.”

Percat acknowledged it had been a long time between drinks, with his most recent win coming in Adelaide in 2016.

But he says the competitiveness of the category makes any victory special.

“You don’t suddenly forget how to win, most of us have won races all our lives, but Supercars is crazy hard. There’s so much more that goes into it than just the guy steering it,” Percat said.

“The race on Sunday, I feel like most of the field could have had a great result if they’d been in my car with the same setup, because everyone operates at such a high level.

“It certainly doesn’t feel like four years ago that I last won a race.

“But the win was a great way to repay everyone at Brad Jones Racing for all that they’ve done.”

Nick Percat won race two at Sydney Motorsport Park. (AAP)

The Holden driver said the long layoff since Adelaide’s season opener in February had everyone chomping at the bit, with the COVID-19 hiatus longer than the typical off-season.

Throw in the new rules, Percat said, and it almost felt like round one again.

The next round is set down for Victoria’s Winton circuit in mid-July, with Ford driver Lee Holdsworth suggesting one way to replicate the exciting racing seen in Sydney would be to force drivers to use both tyre compounds during the race.

With Winton being much easier on tyres, it’s likely drivers would steer clear of the hard compound, and use the soft tyre exclusively.

But Percat says making it mandatory to use both compounds wouldn’t guarantee the same action we saw in Sydney.

“All the teams are smart, so there’s half a chance if they did that then every driver would just use the hards for the last 10 laps of a race or something, and you wouldn’t actually get much variety,” he said.

“There’s a lot that can play out, but generally the teams usually come to the same conclusion which would make such a move irrelevant.”

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