Nick Percat Tasmania SuperSprint Preview
After a relaxing Easter break, I’m ready to get back into race mode and head to the Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint this weekend. It’s the third round of the Supercars championship and I’m currently sitting 8th in series points.
I’m coming off the back of a great weekend at the recent Coates Hire Melbourne 400, where I qualified inside the top 10 for all four races, including a front row start. I’d say it was my best weekend with Brad Jones Racing to date. I finished all four races inside the top ten and scored a second and a third place finish. It’s always a good feeling to stand on the podium, but being able to do that on the same podium as the Formula 1 drivers was extra cool.
My regular engineer Paul Scalzo returns, after missing the AGP due to a family wedding. Even though he wasn’t at the track, he was heavily involved in the set up that we rolled the car out of the truck with, and was on the phone all the time. It was a pity he missed celebrating our podium results, so I’m hoping I can make it up to him in Tasmania.
I’m heading there with some good momentum and a lot of confidence. We made some good inroads on the set up of the new ZB package at the AGP event and continually improved the car each session, so that’s encouraging.
I’m still looking for my first top 10 Supercars result at Symmons Plains, my best result to date is 11th in Sunday’s race last year.
The new qualifying format is going to be good fun, and a new challenge for us all. It’s similar to an F1 elimination-style qualifying, and will put more emphasis on Friday’s practice session. The bottom 16 cars in Friday practice will start Q1 on Saturday, with only the top 6 going through to Q2. The top 10 fastest cars in Friday practice will go straight through to Q2. Then the top 10 progress to Q3 to determine the first five rows of the race.
It’s a similar format again on Sunday, so I need to make sure we can get the car hooked up to get into that final qualifying session. It can be very hard to get a clear lap because it’s such a short circuit, but if you can luck into a bit of a slip stream you might be able to gain a tenth of a second. That could be the difference between qualifying first or fifteenth!
I spent a lot of time over Easter training and doing laps of Symmons Plains on my simulator. It’s a short track but very technical. There’s only three corners but if you get any slightly wrong, you can easily find yourself buried in the pack.
The highlight of the track for me is the hairpin. It’s the slowest corner on any circuit that we visit. It’s about a 200 km/h approach and we brake down to about 50 km/h.
We’re on the soft tyre this weekend, so degradation won’t be an issue. It will be good to be able to drive hard for the whole race, and race hard for track position. Overall my aim is to have a smooth run and have a solid weekend with a good haul of points.
You can follow me on social media for updates across the event.
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