After qualifying, in which he was the last to start in the Supercars race on Saturday in South Australia, a gamble before the race paid off for Holden’s Nick Percat.
On a wet track and before a mammoth task, Percat made the audacious reputation of starting the race on slick tires rather than wet weather tires like most of the field.
Percat navigated the first lap safely and got his money’s worth when a dry line appeared on the circuit at The Bend Motorsport Park. He climbed steadily through the field.
By the time the rest of the drivers finished their pit stops, Percat was 27 seconds ahead when he made his mandatory stop.
It meant he was firmly competing for an unlikely podium, though a late mistake in the fight against Ford’s Anton De Pasquale meant he had to settle for fifth.
Even though he had missed places, it was still a brilliant result after he started.
“Once everything was on and plugged in and working, the thing was a jet,” Percat told AAP.
“It was pretty great there and it bought me time at the beginning of the stint because I knew I wanted to go for a long time. Yeah, it was good.”
While many in the Supercars paddock are hoping for better conditions for the two races on Sunday at Tailem Bend, Percat says he is confident that, given the persistent rain, his experience on Saturday will make him a competitor.
“These conditions suit me pretty well,” he said. “I love a slick on a greasy track when it’s drying.
“I don’t know, it works really well for me.”
The Bend SuperSprint ends on Sunday with two more 24-lap races.