Erebus Motorsport’s German trio of Alex Roloff, Thomas Jaeger and Bernd Schneider lead the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour after a dramatic opening three hours at Mount Panorama.
Just six cars remain on the lead lap thanks largely to the controversial handling of a full course yellow at the end of the second hour that saw the four lead runners waved by the Safety Car before the restart.
Jaeger led the Andreas Simonsen-driven Pheonix Audi by 12 seconds at the end of Hour 3 with Peter Hackett, Shane van Gisbergen, Matt Griffin and Marco Cioci rounding out the top six.
The excitement of the third hour proved a battle that emerged between the two leading Mercedes and the first two cars left a lap down after the Safety Car – the Warren Luff-driven MPC Audi and Allan Simonsen-driven Maranello Ferrari.
Hackett eventually elected to drop to the tail of the quartet, while Jaeger continued to hold off the determined duo.
The Maranello car had suffered an early scare when Mika Salo was involved in an incident that brought out the first Safety Car after just 20 minutes.
The #68 Motorsport Services Porsche spun at the exit of Griffins Bend after contact with the Ferrari, which escaped undamaged despite also rubbing the outside wall in the incident.
Another multi-car accident occurred not long after the restart. The Tony Quinn Aston Martin (which was only entered in the Australian GT component of the race) and David Russell-driven JBS Lamborghini attempted to overtake Chris Porritt’s Class C Aston at the top of Conrod. The resulting contact spat the two faster cars into the concrete walls on either side of the circuit.
Quinn was scheduled to step into the #5 VIP Porsche later in the race, but has now handed his drive to Matt Kingsley. The Porsche is running under protest following continued debate over the eligibility of its 2013 upgrade kit.
Following a lengthy clean up period, nearly 50 minutes of green flag running occurred before the full course yellows were required again following a heavy crash from the #16 Engstler BMW at McPhillamy Park.
Moments before the BMW’s incident, a seemingly harmless spin at Hell Corner for Peter Edwards crucially dropped the Maranello Ferrari a lap behind the then race leader Slade.
The biggest single-car incident meanwhile was saved for the #81 Dragonspeed Audi, which spun four times in the Chase during Hour 2 after appearing to have a problem with its right-rear corner.
See below for the full race order after Hour 3
|1||36||Erebus Motorsport||Mercedes SLS AMG GT3||A||66||03:00:57.2715|
|2||1||Phoenix Racing||Audi R8 LMS Ultra GT||A||66||03:01:09.7232|
|3||63||Erebus Motorsport||Mercedes SLS AMG GT3||A||66||03:01:13.4378|
|4||5||VIP Petfoods||Porsche 911 GT3 R||A||66||03:01:21.2957|
|5||33||Clearwater Racing||Ferrari F458 GT3||A||66||03:02:18.7880|
|6||58||AF Corse SRL||Ferrari F458 GT3||A||66||03:02:34.7638|
|7||6||Skwirk / Oneworld Bar||Audi R8 LMS Ultra GT||A||65||03:00:58.1424|
|8||88||Il Bello Rosso||Ferrari F458 GT3||A||65||03:01:48.5216|
|9||23||United Autosports||Audi R8 LMS Ultra GT||A||65||03:02:14.4565|
|10||9||Network Clothing / Hallmarc||Audi R8 LMS Ultra GT||A||64||03:01:05.2736|
|11||48||GB Galvanizing||Lamborghini GT3 LP56||A||64||03:01:10.5737|
|12||14||Peter Conroy Motorsport||Audi R8 LMS GT||A||64||03:01:24.2976|
|13||12||ASM/BRM Motorsports/Blundstone||Porsche 997 GT3 Cup||B||64||03:01:34.8249|
|14||30||Hunter Sports Group||Porsche 997 GT3 Cup||B||64||03:01:55.1177|
|15||44||Mal Rose Racing||Holden VY Commodore||I3||63||03:01:28.3008|
|16||71||Equity-One Mortgage Fund||Audi R8 LMS Ultra GT||A||63||03:01:34.1784|
|17||4||Grove Group||Porsche 997 GT3 Cup||B||63||03:02:37.4995|
|18||81||DragonSpeed||Audi R8 LMS Ultra GT||A||62||03:02:21.0332|
|19||45||Rentcorp Forklifts||Porsche 997 GT3 Cup||B||61||03:00:49.4104|
|20||69||Motorsport Services||Porsche 997 GT3 Cup||B||61||03:01:59.3877|
|21||65||Daytona Sports Cars Pty Ltd||Daytona Coupe||I3||61||03:02:10.6764|
|22||8||We Are Legend||Porsche 997 GT3 Cup||B||60||03:01:59.8332|
|23||60||1Cover Motionsport||Lotus Elise||I1||60||03:02:31.3123|
|24||2||Racer Industries||Holden Astra HSV VXR||I2||60||03:02:54.3550|
|25||55||Motorsport Services||Seat Leon Supercopa||I2||59||03:00:37.5635|
|26||21||Team Peugeot RCZ||Peugeot RCZ Cup||I1||59||03:01:48.5844|
|27||10||Simply Sports Cars||Lotus Exige||C||59||03:02:01.0469|
|28||62||nurburgring.com.au||Lotus Exige S||C||58||03:01:02.7712|
|29||19||Sherrin Rentals||BMW 135i||D||58||03:01:04.6359|
|30||13||Bruce Lynton BMW||BMW E46||I3||58||03:01:05.2140|
|31||20||Team Peugeot RCZ||Peugeot RCZ Cup||I1||58||03:01:06.2603|
|32||7||Maximum Motorsport||Subaru Impreza WRX S||D||58||03:01:26.6680|
|33||3||Racer Industries||Holden Astra HSV VXR||E||58||03:03:06.5130|
|34||29||Trofeo Motorsport / Pirelli||Chevrolet Corvette Z||A||57||03:01:19.5504|
|35||54||Donut King||Nissan R35 GTR||C||56||02:55:36.6437|
|36||17||Showershop (NZ)||Subaru Impreza WRX S||I2||56||03:00:33.2408|
|37||26||GWS Personnel||BMW 130i||E||56||03:00:35.3912|
|38||35||Sennheiser/ Ric Shaw Racing||Mazda RX-7||I2||54||03:02:20.7695|
|39||22||Cootes Transport||Ford FPV GT||D||53||03:00:37.4078|
|40||70||Motorsport Services||Seat Leon Supercopa||I2||52||03:01:58.9925|
|41||24||GWS Personnel||BMW 335i||D||49||02:55:40.8370|
|42||27||The Shire Conveyancer||BMW 130i||E||45||03:00:41.8060|
|43||51||IMAK / KWIKMIT||Mosler MT900 GT3||A||43||02:19:42.8431|
|44||67||Motorsport Services||Porsche 997 GT3 Cup||B||37||01:58:01.2073|
|45||16||Liqui Moly||BMW Z4 GT3||A||36||01:47:26.8595|
|46||56||Motorsport Services||Seat Leon Supercopa||I2||26||02:30:43.5088|
|47||68||Motorsport Services||Porsche 997 GT3 Cup||B||22||02:43:11.5846|
|48||40||Motor School||Porsche 996 GT3 Cup||GT||13||51:58.1733|
|49||73||ES Australia||Ginetta G50 G4||GT||13||51:59.9930|
|50||77||VIP Petfoods||Aston Martin||GT||11||40:57.0530|
|51||11||JBS Swift||Lamborghini GT3 LP56||A||11||40:57.1130|
|52||76||Aston Martin St. Gallen||Aston Martin Vantage||C||10||40:44.1770|
|53||38||Mark Griffiths||Ginetta G50 G4||GT||5||18:05.3455|
See below for Speedcafe.com’s live Twitter updated from the first three hours of the race
The 2013 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour is just moments away from a start. Tim Slade will lead the cars away from pole in the Erebus Mercedes.
Starting drivers in the lead cars: Slade, Salo, Baird, Russell, Grant, Roloff, Primat, K.Quinn, Richards
Tim Slade (#63 Erebus Mercedes) leads at the end of the opening lap ahead of Craig Baird (#33 Clearwater Ferrari) and Mika Salo (#88 Maranello Ferrari).
Third-placed qualifier Baird challenged for the lead on inside at the first corner but thought better of it.
The #24 GWS BMW 335i, which has struggled with electrical problems all weekend, has stopped on the circuit.
Baird is shadowing race leader Tim Slade as they hit traffic on just the third lap
Craig Baird takes the lead from Tim Slade at Griffins Bend on Lap 4. Third placed Mika Salo is almost 4s adrift. #B12Hr
Order after 15 mins: Baird, Slade, Salo, Roloff, Russell, K.Quinn, Primat, S.Richards, Murphy, Wyatt #B12H
Traffic is proving a major issue for the front runners. Baird now 3.5s ahead of Slade #B12hr
Safety Car is out at the 20 minute mark after an accident at the exit of Griffins Bend #B12Hr
The #68 Motorsport Services Porsche and #38 Ginetta are facing nose-to-nose at the exit of the corner #B12Hr
Replays show that the Porsche spun after moving into the path of Salo in the Maranello Ferrari, which has continued despite also touching the wall #B12Hr
The Porsche appeared to be trying to move out of the way of Slade when he touched Salo. Remarkably, the Ferrari has taken second from Slade in the process.
Richards (#48 GB Lamborghini) and Primat (#1 Phoenix Audi) both pitted under the Safety Car.
Baird pits the leading Clearwater Ferrari as the Safety Car continues to circulate.
Order under SC after 30 mins: Salo, Slade, Roloff, K.Quinn, Murphy, O’Young, Huff, T.Quinn, Russell (1 stop), Richards (1 stop).
Drivers being warned of oil on the circuit across the top. Restart imminent. #B12Hr
Oil has reportedly come from the #56 Motorsport Services Seat, which is now in the pits #B12Hr
The Tony Quinn Aston and David Russell-driven JBS Lamborghini have crashed on Conrod. Safety Car called again #B12hr.
Replays show Quinn being squeezed into the inside wall by the Chris Porritt Aston. The JBS Lambo had been on the outside of the three-wide squeeze and has hit the outside wall hard.
The chain reaction also saw a spin for the Vin Stenta driven FPV GT #B12Hr
Slade and Roloff pit from second and third respectively. #B12Hr
Race organisers inform us that they’re working hard to increase the stability of the live feed. Stick with it, it’s going to be a big day…
Quinn and Murphy pit from second and third respectively after the conclusion of the 50 minute Australian GT Championship component of the race. The Maranello Ferrari has scored maximum points.
Order at end of first hour: Salo, Poulson, Primat, A.Davison, Patterson, Wyatt, Reid, O’Donnell, Glasson, Huff #B12Hr
Conrod has been cleared and the restart will take place next time by. #B12Hr
The Erebus Mercedes entries are currently running ninth and 10th, with both Slade and Roloff double stinting. #B12Hr
Aston driver Chris Porritt says the accident with Quinn and Russell was “unnecessary” after the two faster cars tried to pass either side of him.
Salo’s lead is out to 20 seconds ahead of the already-pitted Primat Audi. Slade is up to third, a further eight seconds back #B12Hr
Salo pits after 80 minutes. Primat inherits the lead. Slade, Roloff, Wyatt, Davison and Poulsen the top six. #B12Hr
Fastest lap of the race so far is the 2:07.1s put down by Craig Baird on Lap 4. FLOR from last year was 2:06.33s. #B12Hr
Slade takes the lead from Primat. The Mercedes’s last lap was a 2:10s, two seconds quicker than the Audi.
Mika Salo says there is no damage following his earlier touch with the wall at Griffins. Peter Edwards is now in the Ferrari.
Erebus Mercs running one-two as Roloff passes Primat at the approach of the 90 minute mark. #B12Hr
The earlier yellows have worked well with the strategy of starting Salmon in the Lowndes/Luff car. Salmon only 60s off the lead after 90 mins.
The #26 GWS BMW is crawling down Conrod. #B12Hr
Top 10 after 100 mins: Slade, Roloff, Primat, Wyatt, K.Quinn, Huff, Weng Sun, Lux, A.Davison, Poulsen #B12Hr
The Eric Lux-driven #81 Dragonspeed Audi has had a massive lose entering the Chase, spinning four times after appearing to have a left-rear wheel issue. Lux narrowly misses cleaning up the ASM Porsche on the way through the Chase. #B12Hr
Peter Edwards has spun the Maranello Ferrari at Hell Corner but rejoins unharmed. Edwards is now a lap down on race leader Tim Slade.
The #16 Engstler BMW has crashed at McPhillamy Park, almost taking out Weng Sun in the Clearwater Ferrari.
The third Safety Car is called at the 1 hour 53 min mark. Slade had enjoyed a 20s lead over Roloff #B12Hr
The leading cars all pit. Slade and Roloff exit the two Mercs in favour of Hackett and Jaeger. #B12Hr
Order at SC at end Hour 2: Hackett, Jaeger, Andreas Simonsen, Van Giz, Weng Sun, Cioci, Conroy, Luff, Li, Calvert-Jones #B12Hr
The Clearwater Ferrari has pitted and will restart sixth with Griffin now at the wheel. It is the last car on the lead lap.
Race restarts at 2 hour and 15 minute mark.
The SC restart occurred without the leader being at the head of the field after several cars were waved by. Only six cars are on the lead lap, but two of those are some 2 mins behind #B12Hr
Hackett, Jaeger, Andreas Simonsen, Van Giz, Cioci and Griffin are the lead lap runners. Luff the first a lap down.
Ciocci and Griffin are having to push to stay on the lead lap. The Irishman runs 2:07.03s that time by – the fastest of the race so far. #B12Hr
Luff is pushing the #6 MPC Audi hard in order to get his lap back. He’s lapping in the high 2:08s – two seconds quicker than the Mercs #B12hr
The two leading Mercs and the first cars a lap down, Luff and Allan Simonsen, are running nose-to-tail #B12Hr
Hackett has dropped to the tail of the four-car train. Jaeger now leads with the lapped Luff and Simonsen in pursuit #B12Hr
Hackett has quickly dropped almost five seconds back from the three tussling cars ahead. #B12Hr
The battle for second has hotted up with Hacket, Andreas Simonsen and Van Gisbergen separated by just two seconds #B12Hr
Matt Griffin has recorded a 2:06.87s on Lap 59. He’s now less than 100s behind leader Jaeger, who ran 2:11.09s last time around. #B12Hr
The #54 Donut King Nissan has lost its right-rear wheel and is limping back to the pits as the third hour comes to a close.
The Corvette has spun at the approach to McPhillamy but rejoins. Allan Simonsen pits the Ferrari having failed to gain his lap back in that stint.