On his 200th career start Nick Percat has won race 8 of the Supercars Championship in a wild race at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Pole sitter Jamie Whincup, celebrating his own milestone by starting his 500th race, could only muster second after relinquishing the lead in the second stint.
Percat cruised home three seconds ahead of the #88 Red Bull Commodore with yesterday’s race winner Scott McLaughlin claiming third after a late charge in fresh rubber.
Shane van Gisbergen was a big talking pont having fallen as low as 21st after the 2016 champion opted to start the race on heavily worn tyres. He would claim seventh in a strong second stint.
Whincup got the jump on the field into turn 1 as McLaughlin gobbled up kiwi compatriot Van Gisbergen to elevate himself into second.
Dramas continued for Van Gisbergen who yielded postions to Waters and a fast-starting Percat. David Reynolds would umtiantely dispatch a vividly wounded Van Gisbgeren a handful of laps later.
As the opening tours settled down it became clear that teams were running different strategies with the likes of Waters, Percat and Reynolds opting to start the race on new rubber.
The tactic paid early dividends and the trio all flew by a worn-tyre shod McLaughlin in the space of one lap.
The DJR crew whistled their struggling pilot into the pitane on lap 10 as Percat began to scythe into the lead of Whincup with Waters and Reynolds in tandem.
Tickford and Penrite Racing would be the first of those on fresh tyres to yield first and call Waters and Reynolds in for their sole mandatory pitstop.
Percat would duly react to the undercut and come in the very next lap, maintaining his advantage at the head of the queue once the BJR Commodore rejoined the race.
Having fallen to as low as 21st, a hurt Van Gisbergen would make the most of his fresh rubber to cut his way through the field and nestle himself well within the top 10 as he began his final stint.
Whincup maintained the lead after everyone had completed their final stop but it was clear Percat was the man on a mission. The BJR Commodore was closing in rapidly and an overtake seemed inevitable.
The change for the lead came on Lap 22, when Percat swept down the inside of Whincup at Turn 4 before pulling out a comfortable lead to claim victory in unrivalled fashion.
Chaz Mostert stole third from Reynolds a lap later, though the two were powerless from a hard-charging McLaughlin.
Mostert then set about his former Tickford team-mate in the form of Waters and, having shown the nose at Turn 6 on lap 29, he made his move a lap later.
Waters was regulated back to sixth as he struggled to muster the speed necessary to challenge the leaders and let Reynolds slip by on the closing stages.
McLaughlin will start from pole in this afternoon’s final race. The kiwi has had his points lead cut back to 35 while Van Gisbergen moves into seventh.
|7||Shane van Gisbergen||50:37.6272|
|12||Anton De Pasquale||50:52.6509|
|14||Jack Le Brocq||50:53.4865|
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