Percat explains horror qualifying run

The race winner has endured a tough spell of single-lap pace, particularly at the recent Perth SuperNight and Winton SuperSprint events.

In Perth he qualified dead last for all three races.

He was down the back again at Winton, twice out-qualified by main game rookie Jayden Ojeda in the WAU wildcard, including another dead last on the grid for Sunday’s finale.

And unlike in Perth it was just Percat right down the back, teammate Chaz Mostert making clear gains since returning from Western Australia as he qualified third, fourth and 10h for the three races.

Speaking on Sunday evening at Winton, Percat explained that a persistent lack of front feel on new rubber was the cause of his single-lap woes.

He added that Mostert was suffering the same issue, however, being in his third year with the team is better at driving around the problem.

“The quali speed wasn’t great on my side,” said Percat. “For me I feel like in qualifying trim I’m probably a couple of tenths away from Chaz. In race trim, I’d same we’re same/same.

“I just need to find one little thing in the front end that gives me a bit more feel and feedback on new tyres.

“That would be the difference. It’s such a small margin. I just need a bit more front feel and I think it will be fine. The boys are working hard to try and give me that coming into Darwin.

“One hundred per cent we know what the problem is. It’s on both cars. Chaz has just been driving it longer so he manipulates what he is doing a bit better at the moment.

“From my side I’ve had a pretty rough run in quali trim and the stars aren’t aligning. It’s so close now, it’s hard. You make one little mistake when the car isn’t right and you pay for it.

“I made a mistake at the end of the lap [in Race 3 qualifying], so we probably should have come off 14th in that race and instead we came off 27th. And that’s the difference. Two tenths somewhere.

“The positive is that it’s crazy the amount of work the team is putting in to try and find it for myself and Chaz. Once we unlock that, we’ll be able to do other bits and pieces with the car to make the whole package better.”

Percat said the rapid-fire two-day format didn’t help his cause, particularly as he went into the limited practice, just two half-hour sessions, with a new set-up in the car as the team looked to rectify its Perth woes.

“We came [to Winton] with two different philosophies on the two cars to learn,” he said. “And the plan was I would run the whole weekend with the philosophy I came here with to try and keep the learning going.

“But we rolled out and it wasn’t great. We missed the quali sim in Practice 2 so we aborted mission and went closer to Chaz’s car, but I hadn’t done a quali sim to that point. So it spirals out of control.

“It just escalates when it goes wrong in the first couple of sessions.”

He echoed calls from a number of team bosses to drop the two-day meetings, as well as arguing for the sprint format to be revised to include refuelling races.

“I think the racing is better when there’s fuel strategy,” he said.

“It’s a bit of a procession now, the sprint format. It’s hard to pass because there is no tyre advantage unless you get a safety car.

“Half the time we’re there on Wednesday anyway, myself and Chaz, so I don’t see why we can’t we why we wouldn’t be on track Friday and go back to fuel races and spice up the racing. Because you can do something with strategy.

“Look at Chaz today, he started 10th but you’ve got no play. You either pit early with everyone else and end up in the train with everyone. Or you go late and try and pass, and if you don’t have a car that’s good to pass with, you’re screwed.”

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