Coates Hire Racing’s Nick Percat and Oliver Gavin have finished 19th in an eventful opening leg of the Castrol Edge Gold Coast 600.
At the end of the single 20-minute qualifying session for race 31 of the 2014 V8 Supercars championship, Percat emerged with the seventh starting spot.
Most teams elected to have their co-drivers start the race, as did HHA Racing, with Gavin taking the start.
It was a typical frenzied Gold Coast race start with David Russell (Nissan) and Greg Murphy (Holden) tangling, causing an immediate safety car, with Murphy out of the race and Russell resuming many laps down.
Racing resumed on lap four with Gavin sitting seventh, but heading straight to the pits with a bent steering arm following an altercation during the lap. The team replaced the offending part and Gavin resumed on lap 15, often setting the quickest times of the field. Percat took over the reigns of the #222 car on lap 52 and from there continued to circulate quickly around the concrete canyon that is the Gold Coast street circuit. After 102 grueling, but trouble-free laps, Percat and Gavin crossed the line 19th.
The second and final safety car was called after David Reynolds (Ford) hit the wall mid race leaving debris on the track. There were 47 laps remaining when racing got underway once again and it was Shane van Gisbergen (Holden) who eventually greeted the chequered flag from Jamie Whincup (Holden) and Tim Slade (Holden). Rounding the last corner of the last lap Mark Winterbottom (Ford) pushed Tim Slade sideways and crossed the line in third, but officials immediately hit Winterbottom with a penalty, dropping him to fourth. Fifth went to Michael Caruso (Nissan) from Bathurst winner Chaz Mostert (Ford), Scott McLaughlin (Volvo), Scott Pye (Ford), veteran Russell Ingall (Holden) and Garth Tander completing the top ten.
Nick Percat: “It’s a shame our day went sour so early, but once the car was repaired Ollie did an awesome job in his stint and was the pace setter of the field for a while. The good thing is we’ve shown we have good pace so I’m looking forward to tomorrow”.
Oliver Gavin: “It’s a real shame we ended up with damage after Nick did a such a super job in qualifying. Once the car was repaired, I was able to get in some good laps before handing over to Nick. I am sure tomorrow will deliver a better result”.