Mid pack start for Percat and Gavin at Sandown 500

Coates Hire Racing’s Nick Percat and co-driver Oliver Gavin will start tomorrow’s 161-lap Wilson Security Sandown 500 endurance race from 16th position.

Earlier today Percat qualified the HHA Racing V8 Supercar 11th for the 20-lap co-drivers race where Gavin finished 15th after enduring a bruising Sandown V8 Supercars initiation.

A turn one, lap eight clash with fellow Brit Alex Buncombe while running 11th and the ensuing tussle through the turns two, three and four saw Luke Youlden, Andrew Jones and Dean Fiore sneak past Gavin and relegate him to 14th. Then on the final lap Gavin got bumped back another spot after Lee Holdsworth passed him on the long back straight.

Victory in the co-drivers race went to Paul Dumbrell who won the start line drag, built a sizeable lead and was never headed. Second went to Jonathon Webb from Steve Owen and Alex Premat. Behind Premat there was a gaggle of cars fighting for fifth including Greg Murphy, Warren Luff, Tony D’Alberto, Dean Canto and Stephen Richards and Alex Buncombe who ended the 20-lap race in that order.

Percat started 15th in the primary driver’s race and by mid distance held the same position in a long freight train, but with four laps remaining Percat and Jason Bright clashed heading into turn two, resulting in Percat loosing a spot to finish 16th.

Jamie Whincup endured early pressure from Shane van Gisbergen to take the win and pole position for tomorrow’s Wilson Security Sandown 500 that is also the first round of the PIRTEK Enduro Cup.

Van Gisbergen will start alongside on the front row courtesy of his runner up spot. Completing the podium was Mark Winterbottom and he was followed across the line by Scott McLaughlin, Garth Tander, James Courtney, Craig Lowndes, David Reynolds, Tim Slade and Fabian Coulthard completing the top ten.

Nick Percat: “It was a processional Sandown race as the cars are so even and it’s so hard to pass here unless someone makes a mistake. Jason Bright and I clashed wheels late in the race as he had the elbows up and I was trying to find a way past.

"The car is quite good and we just need to make a few minor improvements for tomorrow’s race”.

Oliver Gavin: “I got a pretty good start and managed pass a couple of guys early on. It was fine for the next few laps and I then caught Alex Buncombe and tried to get by him as soon as I could. I got alongside him and just about made the move stick but didn’t quite have enough momentum to get off the corner. We were side by side going into turn two and he got hit, which pushed me out of the way and then the freight train of cars came through and I dropped three spots.

"On the last lap everyone was bottled up going into turn four and I chose the wrong side of the track to pass some cars and ended up being bumped back another position. We have plenty of speed in the car and it’s a long race tomorrow and anything can happen”.