Garth Tander and Nick Percat have won a dramatic Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama today.
Tander held off a late charge from the Craig Lowndes in the #888 TeamVodafone Commodore VE to take his third win in The Great Race – equalling the totals of Jamie Whincup and Dick Johnson.
The result also sees Percat become the first rookie to win the Bathurst 1000 since Jacy Ickx in 1977. Percat survived a major scare during his second stint – bouncing off the wall at Griffins Bend while making way for an inside pass from Lowndes.
Pole-sitter Greg Murphy and Allan Simonsen finished third, making it a clean sweep of the podium for Holden drivers.
Mark Winterbottom (Orrcon Steel FPR) passed Jason Bright (Team BOC) on the final lap to take fourth place, while Shane van Gisbergen (SP Tools), James Courtney (Toll HRT), Russell Ingall (Supercheap Auto Racing), Tony D’Alberto (Wilson Security Racing) and Michael Caruso (Fujitsu/GRM) rounded out the top 10.
The race was turned on its head on Lap 138 of 161 when the second placed car of Jamie Whincup began to cut in and out with electrical problems. The incident occurred during the final round of pitstops – taking the previously dominant Whincup/Thompson entry out of contention while dramatically shuffling the lead order.
With Safety Car boards and flags flying, several cars including that of Winterbottom, Lowndes and Rick Kelly lost time behind the stricken Whincup car at the top of the Mountain – allowing Murphy, Bright, Russell Ingall and Karl Reindler to emerge from the pits behind race leader Tander.
Lowndes, who had been forced to come from behind all day as he queued behind the Whincup/Thompson car in the pitstops, restarted in seventh place with 21 laps to go – setting up the thrilling finish.
The TeamVodafone Commodore picked its way through to second by Lap 148, after which point Lowndes set about cutting a 5.6s gap to Tander. The margin closed by 2.8s between Laps 153 and 157 alone after a major lock-up (and minor off) from Tander at The Chase, with the gap standing at just 0.3s by the start of the final lap.
Tander defended the inside line into Griffins Bend on Lap 161, before Lowndes backed out of a cheeky inside look into Reid Park. Having unsuccessfully tried to break the tow on Conrod, Tander braked as late as he dared into the final two corners at The Chase and Murrays to hold out Lowndes by just 0.28s.
Murphy, was a further 11.5s back in third, having led the opening six laps from pole position. The Pepsi Max Crew Commodore lacked the outright speed required to win the race, and lost considerable track position with pitstop issues during the day.
Murphy’s time at the front of the field in the opening stint ended thanks to the pace of fellow front-row starter Will Davison. Trading Post FPR Falcon driver pulled an 8.3s lead on the field by the time of his first pitstop, before the car was rendered an also-ran thanks to a mistake from co-driver Luke Youlden.
The Fabian Coulthard/Craig Baird and Grant Denyer/Cameron Waters Commodores were also early casualties, with Coulthard crashing at the exit of The Dipper in his first stint, and Waters doing likewise at Forrest Elbow in his.
CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s separate story on the early mishaps, including comments from Davison and Waters
Youlden had been chasing Thompson when he ventured off course on Lap 43. The Whincup/Thompson Holden led the race between Laps 29 and 114, with the current Fujitsu Series leader driving flawlessly in his second and third stints – most of which were spent holding Percat at bay.
The #88 car’s track position cost Lowndes and Skaife dearly, with the second TeamVodafone entry losing time queuing under the Safety Car instigated pitstops on Laps 40, 63 and 86.
This led to the decision to put the #888 car off-sequence, with Skaife dropping to 18th place courtesy of being one of only half a dozen to return to the lane when the Safety Car re-appeared (for the medical car to attend to a marshal) on Lap 97.
While the #18 Jim Beam, #15 Jack Daniel’s, #21 Fair Dinkum Sheds, #200 Supercheap Auto and #4 IRWIN entries also took the strategy gamble, a fiery crash from David Besnard on Lap 113 saw all the lead lap contenders pit – resetting the strategies.
CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s earlier story on Besnard’s crash, including comments from co-driver Steven Johnson
CLICK HERE for comments on the incident from David Besnard
Six laps of yellow flag running were required to clear the wreckage from crash, with Tander left to lead Whincup, Winterbottom, Dumbrell, Courtney, Moffat, Rick Kelly, Lowndes, Alex Davison and Steve Owen when the race restarted.
Five of those drivers would drop out of the top 10 over the final two stints however, beginning with a puncture for Owen on Lap 122 that brought out the race’s seventh and penultimate Safety Car.
While the timing of the final Safety Car, caused by the demise of Whincup’s chances, played its part in shuffling the order, a gearbox problem, a crash and an oil leak took care of James Moffat, Paul Dumbrell and Rick Kelly respectively.
Lowndes wasn’t the only one on a charge in the final stint, with van Gisbergen’s seventh place coming after a spin at Murray’s Corner on Lap 131 dropped the SP Tools Falcon outside the top 10.
The Stone Brothers Falcon was in plenty of trouble throughout the day, with John McIntyre being turned around by Marcus Marshall at Forrest Elbow on Lap 98, and van Gisbergen spinning Dumbrell at the same corner 44 laps later.
The Marsall/Caruso car recovered from the damage sustained in its contact with McIntyre to take 10th – seven places ahead of the team’s Holdsworth/Ritter entry, which was severely delayed when Ritter brought out the day’s third Safety Car by spinning into the Murray’s Corner sand trap on Lap 63.
The Dean Fiore repeated Ritter’s error 20 laps later to bring out the fourth Safety Car. The race had run green for the first 40 laps before it was deemed that reports of the Griffins Bend exit kerb breaking up required closer inspection.
The race’s thrilling finish came despite predicted late showers failing to materialise. Reports of minor showers around the circuit occurred on multiple occasions, but the falling water was never enough to effect lap speed.
Whincup ended the race with the fastest lap – a 2:09.33s effort set while chasing Tander in the penultimate stint.
The result sees Lowndes overhaul Whincup’s championship advantage, with the three-time champion heading to the Armor All Gold Coast 600 in two weeks time with a 100 point lead over his team-mate.
See below for the full race result
|1||Toll Holden Racing Team||G.Tander/N.Percat||Holden Commodore VE2||06:26:52.2691||2:09.4013|
|2||TeamVodafone||C.Lowndes/M.Skaife||Holden Commodore VE2||06:26:52.5608||2:09.6513|
|3||Pepsi Max Crew||G.Murphy/A.Simonsen||Holden Commodore VE2||06:27:04.0641||2:10.1698|
|4||Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon||M.Winterbottom/S.Richards||Ford Falcon FG||06:27:11.7877||2:09.7242|
|5||Team Boc||J.Bright/A.Jones||Holden Commodore VE2||06:27:12.1918||2:10.7375|
|6||SP Tools Racing||S.Van Gisbergen/J.McIntyre||Ford Falcon FG||06:27:25.8804||2:10.0467|
|7||Toll Holden Racing Team||J.Courtney/C.McConville||Holden Commodore VE2||06:27:28.4741||2:09.9320|
|8||Supercheap Auto Racing||R.Ingall/J.Perkins||Holden Commodore VE2||06:27:29.4516||2:10.8076|
|9||Wilson Security Team||T.D’Alberto/D.Wood||Ford Falcon FG||06:27:33.9441||2:10.9292|
|10||Fujitsu Racing GRM||M.Caruso/M.Marshall||Holden Commodore VE2||06:27:40.1258||2:10.0714|
|11||VIP Petfoods||S.Owen/P.Morris||Holden Commodore VE2||06:27:42.0196||2:10.7027|
|12||Lucky 7 Racing||T.Slade/D.Gaunt||Ford Falcon FG||06:27:42.3904||2:10.5989|
|13||Mother Energy Racing Team||J.Webb/R.Lyons||Ford Falcon FG||06:27:43.1531||2:11.0224|
|14||Fair Dinkum Sheds Racing||K.Reindler/D.Wall||Holden Commodore VE2||06:27:47.6209||2:11.0884|
|15||Gulf Western Oil Racing||W.Luff/N.Pretty||Holden Commodore VE2||06:27:57.0766||2:10.4957|
|16||Irwin Racing||A.Davison/D.Brabham||Ford Falcon FG||06:28:04.1190||2:10.3603|
|17||Fujitsu Racing GRM||L.Holdsworth/G.Ritter||Holden Commodore VE2||06:28:29.8879||2:10.2774|
|18||Trading Post FPR Falcon||W.Davison/L.Youlden||Ford Falcon FG||06:28:40.5818||2:09.8502|
|19||Stratco Racing||D.Reynolds/T.Blanchard||Holden Commodore VE2||06:28:55.5565||2:10.1059|
|20||Triple F Racing||D.Fiore/M.Patrizi||Ford Falcon FG||06:27:01.0932||2:11.6242|
|21||TeamVodafone||J.Whincup/A.Thompson||Holden Commodore VE2||06:27:05.4642||2:09.3340|
|22||Jack Daniel’s Racing||R.Kelly/O.Kelly||Holden Commodore VE2||06:28:29.2994||2:10.3043|
|23||Jana Living Racing||J.Bargwanna/S.Price||Holden Commodore VE2||06:27:39.1809||2:10.7909|
|24||Jack Daniel’s Racing||T.Kelly/David Russell||Holden Commodore VE2||06:28:31.6207||2:11.4222|
|25||Jim Beam Racing||J.Moffat/M.Halliday||Ford Falcon FG||06:28:06.6759||2:10.8370|
|DNF||The Bottle-O Racing Team||P.Dumbrell/D.Canto||Ford Falcon FG||05:51:01.7182||2:09.8088|
|DNF||Jim Beam Racing||S.Johnson/D.Besnard||Ford Falcon FG||04:21:49.5665||2:10.5756|
|DNF||Shannons Mars Racing||G.Denyer/C.Waters||Holden Commodore VE2||06:28:10.8761||2:13.3209|
|DNF||Bundaberg Racing||F.Coulthard/C.Baird||Holden Commodore VE2||43:08.8590||2:11.8965|