Erebus holds on for dramatic Bathurst 12 Hour victory

The winning Erebus Mercedes

The winning Erebus Mercedes

Erebus Motorsport has taken victory in the 2013 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour with its #36 Mercedes of Alex Roloff, Bernd Schneider and Thomas Jaeger.

The car’s non-seeded driver Alex Roloff held his nerve at a rain-hit Mount Panorama to take the chequered flag over a lap ahead of the Craig Baird-driven Clearwater Ferrari.

The Baird/Matt Griffin/Mok Weng Sun Clearwater crew managed to improve on their third placed finish of last year despite being handed three drive-through penalties and a mechanical black flag during a fraught race.

There had been little to choose between the #36 Mercedes and the sister #63 machine of Lee Holdsworth/Tim Slade/Peter Hackett throughout the day before Holdsworth damaged the car’s steering following the first heavy shower in the penultimate hour. The car was repaired and eventually finished sixth.

The VIP Petfoods Porsche of Shane van Gisbergen/Klark Quinn/Matt Kingsley took third, with Kingsley a last-minute stand-in for car owner Tony Quinn after the Queenslander crashed his Aston Martin in the first hour.

The #1 Phoenix Audi of Harold Primat/Johan Kristoffersson/Andreas Simonsen finished just two laps down in fourth despite losing four laps mid-race with mechanical problems.

The Christopher Mies/Mark Eddy/Marc Cini/Dean Grant  #9 Melbourne Performance Centre Audi rounded out the top five having fallen four laps off the pace throughout the day.

Punctuated by a record 15 Safety Car periods, the race proved cruel for several of the fancied entries, including the rapid #88 Maranello Ferrari of Allan Simonsen/Mika Salo/John Bowe/Peter Edwards.

The car was nudged into the wall by a backmarker early in the first hour and, while initially continuing untroubled, a trip to the garage with collapsed front suspension during the fourth hour followed. The team’s day eventually ended  when Bowe suffered a sizeable incident after more contact with slower runners at McPhillamy Park.

The #6 Melbourne Performance Centre Audi of Craig Lowndes/Warren Luff/Rod Salmon also had its challenge fall during the first six hours, with car owner Salmon brushing the wall while trying to keep the car in a competitive position against the faster runners.

The first of the fancied entries to strike trouble however had been the David Russell/Peter Kox/Roger Lago #23 JBS Lamborghini, which crashed in a three-wide squeeze on Conrod that also claimed the Quinn Aston (which had been running the first 50 minutes in order to score Australian GT Championship points).

There was heartbreak at the opposite end of the race for United Autosports, whose Audi had been set for a sixth place finish until an otherwise outstanding Brendon Hartley was caught out by the conditions at the top of the Mountain in the final minutes. Contact with the wall at the inside of Sulman Park damaged the rear-suspension of the R8, rendering it a non-finisher.

Class B was taken comfortably by the Steven Johnson/Jonny Reid/Drew Russell Hunter Motorsports Porsche after the McElrea Racing-run #12 entry of Alex Davison/James Davison/David Calvert-Jones Porsche was crashed by Calvert-Jones in the 10th hour.

Other class winners were the #62 Lotus Exige (Class C), #24 GWS BMW (Class D), #3 Racer Industries Holden (Class E), #21 Team Peugeot RCZ (Class I1), #55 Motorsprot Services Seat (Class I2) and #44 Mal Rose Racing Holden (Class I3).

See below for the full race result

1 36 Erebus Motorsport Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 A 268 12:03:04.5192
2 33 Clearwater Racing Ferrari F458 GT3 A 267 12:03:10.8810
3  5 VIP Petfoods Porsche 911 GT3 R A 267 12:03:37.4881
4  1 Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS Ultra GT A 266 12:04:36.2534
5  9 Network Clothing / Hallmarc Audi R8 LMS Ultra GT A 263 12:02:49.1934
6 63 Erebus Motorsport Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 A 263 12:03:58.4472
7 58 AF Corse SRL Ferrari F458 GT3 A 261 12:03:55.0199
8 14 Peter Conroy Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT A 260 12:04:09.6672
9 30 Hunter Sports Group Porsche 997 GT3 Cup B 257 12:02:57.5550
10 71 Equity-One Mortgage Fund Audi R8 LMS Ultra GT A 255 12:04:51.6706
11  4 Grove Group Porsche 997 GT3 Cup B 251 12:02:47.4097
12 44 Mal Rose Racing Holden VY Commodore I3 248 12:03:08.8294
13 48 GB Galvanizing Lamborghini GT3 LP56 A 247 12:03:16.5048
14 69 Motorsport Services Porsche 997 GT3 Cup B 244 12:05:23.3101
15  8 We Are Legend Porsche 997 GT3 Cup B 236 12:03:38.0001
16 21 Team Peugeot RCZ Peugeot RCZ Cup I1 233 12:04:28.1203
17 81 DragonSpeed Audi R8 LMS Ultra GT A 233 12:04:35.8655
18  3 Racer Industries Holden Astra HSV VXR E 229 12:04:29.3889
19 62 Lotus Exige S C 228 12:03:34.2058
20 55 Motorsport Services Seat Leon Supercopa I2 225 12:05:06.9253
21 17 Showershop (NZ) Subaru Impreza WRX S I2 222 12:04:41.3223
22 54 Donut King Nissan R35 GTR C 216 12:03:45.6260
23 20 Team Peugeot RCZ Peugeot RCZ Cup I1 214 12:04:28.1082
24 67 Motorsport Services Porsche 997 GT3 Cup B 208 12:05:23.5248
25 45 Rentcorp Forklifts Porsche 997 GT3 Cup B 207 12:02:54.9165
26 26 GWS Personnel BMW 130i E 207 12:03:01.3316
27 68 Motorsport Services Porsche 997 GT3 Cup B 198 12:05:55.6964
28 70 Motorsport Services Seat Leon Supercopa I2 193 12:04:23.5820
29 24 GWS Personnel BMW 335i D 183 12:04:13.8334
30 35 Sennheiser/ Ric Shaw Racing Mazda RX-7 I2 182 12:04:06.7795
31 27 The Shire Conveyancer BMW 130i E 178 12:03:22.6807
32 56 Motorsport Services Seat Leon Supercopa I2 140 12:03:17.9693
33 76 Aston Martin St. Gallen Aston Martin Vantage C 134 12:02:56.9514
34 22 Cootes Transport Ford FPV GT D 134 12:04:01.8192
DNF 23 United Autosports Audi R8 LMS Ultra GT A 259 11:55:35.9538
DNF 60 1Cover Motionsport Lotus Elise I1 211 10:47:08.1280
DNF 13 Bruce Lynton BMW BMW E46 I3 209 10:25:31.7220
DNF 12 ASM/BRM Motorsports Porsche 997 GT3 Cup B 207 09:28:51.2534
DNF  6 Skwirk / Oneworld Bar Audi R8 LMS Ultra GT A 162 07:20:45.1790
DNF  7 Maximum Motorsport Subaru Impreza WRX S D 138 07:02:38.8634
DNF  2 Racer Industries Holden Astra HSV VXR I2 133 06:35:41.7159
DNF 65 Daytona Sports Cars Pty Ltd Daytona Coupe I3 132 08:12:54.5187
DNF 29 Trofeo Motorsport / Pirelli Chevrolet Corvette Z06 A 127 08:29:42.5052
DNF 88 Il Bello Rosso Ferrari F458 GT3 A 111 05:33:33.2263
DNF 10 Simply Sports Cars Lotus Exige C 108 09:26:12.0202
DNF 19 Sherrin Rentals BMW 135i D  67 03:32:56.8681
DNF 51 IMAK / KWIKMIT Mosler MT900 GT3 A  55 03:36:10.8420
DNF 16 Liqui Moly BMW Z4 GT3 A  36 01:47:26.8595
DNF 40 Motor School Porsche 996 GT3 Cup GT  13    51:58.1733
DNF 73 ES Australia Ginetta G50 G4 GT  13    51:59.9930
DNF 77 VIP Petfoods Aston Martin GT  11    40:57.0530
DNF 11 JBS Swift Lamborghini GT3 LP56 A  11    40:57.1130
DNF 38 Mark Griffiths Ginetta G50 G4 GT   5    18:05.3455

See below for’s live Twitter coverage from the final three hours

Hour 10

Brendon Hartley brings the United Autosport Audi into the pits from fifth place. An impressive Bathurst debut from the Kiwi. #B12Hr

Schneider continues to lead comfortably. He’s 71s ahead of team-mate Slade at the 9 hour 20 min mark. #B12Hr

The splitter-less Griffin continues to run fourth but can make no impression on third-placed Quinn. Clearwater Ferrari nearly two laps down.

Cioci pits from eighth after a strong stint behind the wheel of the AF Corse Ferrari. Early dramas were very costly for this team. #B12Hr

Schneider pits the lead car at the 9 hour 30 mark. He had a 75s advantage on team-mate Holdsworth #B12Hr

Calvert-Jones is parked backwards in the fence at The Elbow. Safety Car number 12 called #B12Hr

Calvert-Jones’ mistake and simultaneous issues for the Daniel Gaunt-driven Porsche hands a major Class B advantage to Hunter Motorsports #B12Hr

The Gaunt car is serving a five minute pitlane hold penalty for breaking the minimum 60 minute rest period between stints #B12Hr

Schneider and Holdsworth restart line astern with 2 hours and 16 minutes to go #B12Hr

Griffin is back up to third in the Clearwater Ferrari following a pitstop for the VIP Porsche, which is now being steered by Kingsley #B12Hr

The fifth-placed Phoenix Audi is now the only car running four laps down, with Cini and Patterson both five adrift #B12Hr

The clouds continue to roll in with 2 hours and 10 mins to go. Still plenty warm outside though. #B12Hr

A drive-through for fifth placed Kristoffersson. Seventh placed Cini also recently trundled by after overlapping on the restart #B12Hr

Shane van Gisbergen reports that the engine is starting to die in the fourth-placed VIP Porsche

Reports coming in that rain is very close by #B12Hr

Schneider leads Holdsworth by 2s at the end of Hour 10. Griffin a lap and 18s further back in third #B12Hr

Hour 11

Holdsworth pits from second place five minutes past the hour. #B12Hr

Griffin pits the Clearwater Ferrari and hands over to Baird #B12Hr

The Safety Car appears for a 13th time today due to the Class I1 leading Lotus parked at Griffins Bend #B12Hr

Schneider pits under the yellows, putting the two Mercs back onto a very similar fuel sequence #B12Hr

There’s spots of rain at the top of the Mountain with 105 minutes of the race remaining #B12Hr

Track is looking very greasy at the top of the hill. It will still have good temperature in it though. Entire field still on slicks #B12Hr

Race restarts 25 minutes past the hour. Baird is holding Schneider at bay to ensure he doesn’t go two laps down #B12Hr

It’s bucketing down at the top. Cars are crawling, almost stopping. #B12Hr

Van Giz goes by Schneider and Baird and then sails through the tarmac run-off at Skyline. #B12hr

Full course yellow for the 14th time. The #27 BMW has stopped on track, as has the #13 BMW. #B12Hr

Leaders are still crawling back to pitlane. Phoenix Audi dived in for wets before the restart #B12Hr

Front-runners make it to pitlane without damage. #B12Hr

The sun pops back out as the field rejoins on wets. Full course yellow still out for the stranded #27 and #13 BMWs #B12Hr

Remarkably, the only real consequence from all that chaos was Van Giz passing Baird for third #B12Hr

Erebus did manage, however, to put the Van Gisbergen and Baird cars a second lap down in the tyre change #B12Hr

Race restarts with 10 hours and 47 mins on the clock #B12Hr

The Class I1 leading #60 Lotus is in the fence on the front straight after a messy restart #B12Hr

Safety Car number 15 now called #B12Hr

Holdsworth’s Mercedes appears to have broken front steering after tangling with traffic #B12Hr

Holdsworth heads to pitlane with 70 minutes remaining. Baird meanwhile has retaken Van Giz for third #B12Hr

The Erebus crew are working hard to return the Holdsworth Mercedes to the circuit #B12Hr

Hour 12

Race restarts with exactly an hour remaining. Holdsworth car still in pits #B12Hr

Baird is now second, Van Gisbergen third. Schneider comfortably two laps ahead #B12Hr

Schneider runs a 2:21.5s, showing that the track has dried very quickly following the deluge #B12Hr

Schneider pits and hands over to Jaeger. Stays on wets #B12Hr

The Phoenix Audi is up to fourth at the expense of the #63 Mercedes, which is about to rejoin the race #B12Hr

Correction to earlier Tweet. Roloff has replaced Schneider, not Jaeger. The unseeded German now leads the race #B12Hr

Van Gisbergen pits the third placed Porsche 10 minutes past the hour. #B12Hr

Slade is in the #63 Mercedes, which has rejoined on wets #B12Hr

Now Baird swings the Clearwater Ferrari into pitlane from second place. The Kiwi moves back to slicks #B12Hr

Roloff puts Baird two laps down once again. The latter has, however, rejoined still ahead of the VIP Porsche #B12Hr

Baird takes one lap back immediately – diving by as they plunge down through Sulman Park. Roloff still on wets #B12Hr

Clearwater Ferrari now being shown a fourth black flag for the day, presumably for an issue in the pitstop #B12Hr

Baird pulls straight in to serve the penalty. He loses second to the VIP Porsche as Roloff pits for slicks and a splash of fuel #B12Hr

Roloff now leads Van Gisbergen by 1 lap, 1 minute and 59 seconds with 40 mins of the race remaining #B12Hr

Remember that the eligibility of the SVG driven Porsche has been appealed, meaning the results will not be final #B12Hr

Timing screen was slow to update earlier. SVG is only 1 lap and 1 minute down on the leader. #B12Hr

Further heavy rain reported in nearby Orange. Slade, meanwhile, has been handed a black flag #B12Hr

More rain arriving at the top of the Mountain. Big pressure on race leader Roloff, who is the amateur-classed driver in the #36 Mercedes #B12Hr

Simonson pits the #1 Phoenix Audi from fourth with 28 minutes remaining. Wind has massively picked up here. #B12Hr

Baird has the gap to fellow Kiwi Van Gisbergen down to 10s with 25 minutes to go. #B12Hr

Roloff is cruising around in the lead car. Lost five seconds to SVG on last lap, but still has a 1 lap and 40s buffer #B12Hr

Light rain coming down once again. SVG dives into the pitlane. Roloff and Baird still on track #B12Hr

Roloff still holds a 1 lap and 20 second lead over Baird with 12 minutes to go. #B12Hr

Clearwater may well rue their three drive-through penalties and one mechanical black flag after this race #B12Hr

Roloff pits for wets with just 11 mins to go as the rain comes down again. Baird in too. #B12Hr

Roloff runs wide at Murray’s Corner but stays on the circuit. He leads Baird by a lap and 27s with 7 minutes to go #B12Hr

Brendon Hartley has damaged the United Autosports Audi at the top of the Mountain. The car was running sixth but is limping to the pits #B12Hr

Julian goes off in the Dragonspeed Audi at Hell Corner but continues #B12Hr

Less than two minutes left on the clock with Roloff carefully threading his way through traffic #B12Hr

Roloff is now on his final lap as the clock has ticked over 12 Hours #B12Hr

Baird is still a lap and 13 seconds behind in second place #B12Hr

Roloff greets the flag to take a thoroughly deserved victory for Erebus Motorsport and co-drivers Bernd Schneider and Thomas Jaeger #B12Hr

Baird takes second in the Clearwater Ferrari with Van Gisbergen third in the VIP Porsche #B12Hr

Fourth through eighth: #1 Phoenix Audi, #9 MPC Audi, #63 Erebus Mercedes, #58 AF Corse Ferrari, #14 Conroy Audi #B12Hr

#30 Hunter Motorsports Porsche wins Class B in ninth outright, while the #71 Minda Audi completes the top 10 #B12Hr

A big win for Erebus Motorsport just days before its V8 Supercars campaign officially gets underway #B12Hr

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