V8 Supercars: Local boy Nick Percat wins Clipsal 500 at Adelaide
Local boy Nick Percat (Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport) was a surprise winner of the Clipsal 500 at Adelaide, the first race of the 2016 V8 Supercars Championship. In the rain-affected and shortened race, Percat started from 15th position in the LDM’s Holden VF Commodore and he won ahead Michael Caruso (Nissan Motorsport) and Garth Tander (Holden Racing Team).
Clipsal 500 triumph was Percat’s first solo V8 Supercars victory in a career. 27-year old South Australian previously won the Bathurst 1000 with Garth Tander in 2011, driving for the Holden Racing Team, but this is the first victory since joining the category full-time in 2013. The victory is also the first win for Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport.
Coulthard was penalized and lost second place
Percat raced pole man Fabian Coulthard home at the end of the race, though the DJR Team Penske Falcon had not taken on the required amount of fuel and the team had lost power in the garage. Each car must take on a minimum 140 litres of fuel during the race, even if it fails to reach full distance. Coulthard did not and he, amongst others, was given a 30-second penalty. That pushed him back to 14th. That promoted Michael Caruso to second and Garth Tander to third.
Teams had been preparing for scorching temperatures, but the rain started while cars were lining up on the grid. Most teams immediately changed to wet weather tyres but a handful headed to pit lane – including defending champion Mark Winterbottom. There was uncertainty over the start as well as the finish, with cars starting behind the safety car after a delay and some heading straight to pit lane for fuel. Slipping and sliding rearranged the order many times, and there were casualties in Chaz Mostert and James Courtney who both ran at the front of the field. Lightning struck and the race was red flagged on lap 42 (of predicted 78). Restarting shortly after, cars dove into the pits on the first lap.
Caruso leads the championship
The winners of the two 39-lap Saturday’s races were Jamie Whincup and James Courtney. The championship leader after three Adelaide’s races is Michael Caruso (Nissan Motorsport). He collected 222 points, 21 more than Garth Tander and 22 more than Jamie Whincup.
The V8 Supercars will race again at the non-championship event which will be te part of the 2016 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix (18-20 March).