Lowndes holds on in Bathurst thriller

Sunday 9th February, 2014 - 6:27pm

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Lowndes takes the flag for Maranello

Lowndes takes the flag for Maranello

Craig Lowndes led Maranello Motorsport to a stunning victory in the Bathurst 12 Hour by holding off the HTP Mercedes of Max Buhk in a thrilling finish.

Lowndes combined with co-drivers Mika Salo, John Bowe and car owner Peter Edwards to recover from two drive-through penalties to win the race.

The five-time Bathurst 1000 winner had to survive a Safety Car restart with 13 minutes to go that saw a 15 second lead evaporate.

The superior straightline speed and braking power of the Mercedes threatened to upset the local crowd, with Buhk ranging up along the outside of the Ferrari as just five minutes remained.

Although the gap fluctuated through traffic, Lowndes hung on to win by just 0.4s.

Will Davison and Shane van Gisbergen were third and fourth in the #63 Erebus Mercedes and Quinn McLaren respectively; the top four separated by just three seconds at the finish.

The Maranello Ferrari, HTP Mercedes and #63 Erebus Mercedes had all been off the lead lap during the middle portion of the race.

The Ferrari was stung first for pitlane speeding and later for not having its pitboard in the garage when a stop was completed, but used well-timed Safety Cars to regain ground.

Salo lost track position to the HTP Mercedes in his final stint having found himself stuck behind an impressive Greg Crick in the #63 Mercedes.

The flying Buhk was able scythe past the pair but then lost the ascendancy with a long final pitstop, which included a front brake pad change.

Thomas Jaeger had driven the HTP entry from 11th on the grid to second during the opening hours before an early touch with Rick Kelly’s Nissan eventually led to a front-right wheel nut failure.

The German team subsequently lost two laps as it went to the garage for repairs, but clawed its way back onto the lead lap with two hours remaining through speed and strategy.

The first eight hours of the race had been dominated by the #1 Erebus Mercedes of Bernd Schneider/Maro Engel/Nico Bastian.

The all German crew led the majority of the contest from pole but fell foul of a failure in the right-rear hub at the end of the eighth hour.

Schneider’s early stints in the fourth and fifth hours had included a memorable dice with the Van Gisbergen-driven McLaren that featured several hairy moments for the Kiwi.

The McLaren was a front-runner all day but lost out largely due to pit strategy, which included putting car owner Tony Quinn in for a single stint relatively late in the going.

The first half of the race had been punctuated by three incidents; the first of which saw a kangaroo take the #23 JBS Lamobrghini out of the race after just 15 minutes.

The Nismo Nissan and Clearwater Ferrari crashed heavily at McPhillamy in the third hour, while the fourth hour saw M Motorsport’s race end in spectacular fashion at the same corner.

CLICK HERE for more on the early incidents in Speedcafe.com’s halfway report

The Class B honours fell to the Grove Porsche of Ben Barker/Earl Bamber/Steven Grove after a day-long battle with the similar Competition Motorsports entry.

The Donut King Lotus of Tony Alford, Peter Leemhuis and Mark O’Connor took out Class C while other class winners were the Richard Billington/Lewis Scott/Stuart Owers Seat (Class D), the Luke Youlden Youlden/Paul Gover/Gregory Hede/Stuart Owers Fiat (Class F) and Grant Denyer/Andrew Miedecke/Garry Jacobson/Adam Gowans Ford (Class I).

See below for the full race result

Pos

Car

Drivers

Vehicle

Class

Laps

Time

1

88

P.Edwards/J.Bowe/C.Lowndes/M.Salo

Ferrari F458 Italia

A

296

12:00:29.5750

2

84

H.Primat/T.Jaeger/M.Buhk

Mercedes SLS AMG GT3

A

296

12:00:29.9888

3

63

W.Davison/J.Le Brocq/G.Crick

Mercedes  SLS AMG GT

A

296

12:00:31.9775

4

37

T.Quinn/K.Quinn/A.Kirkaldy/S.Van Gisbergen

McLaren MP4 12C

A

296

12:00:32.6291

5

3

R.Frey/R.Rast/L.Vanthoor

Audi R8 LMS Ultra

A

296

12:01:06.5233

6

25

M.Patterson/E.Lux/M.Winkelhock

Audi R8 LMS Ultra

A

294

12:00:53.4499

7

1

B.Schneider/M.Engel/N.Bastian

Mercedes  SLS AMG GT

A

291

12:00:39.4150

8

4

S.Grove/E.Bamber/B.Barker

Porsche 997 GT3 Cup

B

286

12:01:34.4964

9

12

D.Calvert-Jones/A.Davison/P.Long

Porsche 997 GT3 Cup

B

284

12:01:31.5291

10

9

M.Cini/M.Eddy/C.Mies

Audi R8 LMS Ultra

A

278

12:00:45.2863

11

19

D.Flack/R.Smith/S.Smollen

Porsche 997 GT3 Cup

B

277

12:00:54.8856

12

69

J.Koundouris/T.Koundouris/S.Owen/M.Twigg

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup

B

275

12:01:18.0111

13

99

P.Hill/S.Middleton/E.Bana

Lamborghini Gallardo

B

275

12:01:35.4980

14

71

D.Koutsoumidis/D.Grant/D.Fiore/M.Loccisano

Audi R8 LMS

B

271

12:01:35.1384

15

70

G.Denyer/A.Gowans/G.Jacobson/A.Miedecke

MARC Focus GTC

I

268

12:03:18.0413

16

22

R.Billington/L.Scott/S.Owers

Seat Leon Supercopa

D

247

12:01:36.6836

17

50

K.Kassulke/J.Camilleri/C.Pither

MARC Focus GTC

I

246

12:03:19.3398

18

96

L.Youlden/P.Gover/G.Hede/M.Sinclair

Fiat Abarth 500

F

243

12:02:10.3330

19

60

M.Benton/H.Morrall/D.Thomas/R.McLeod

MARC Focus GTC

I

242

12:03:20.9048

20

28

P.O’Donnell/A.Shephard/K.Booker/M.Chahda

BMW 335i

D

238

12:01:53.6292

21

51

A.Macpherson/B.Porter/G.Walden

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup

B

237

12:00:54.5362

22

95

P.Stokell/T.Hagon/J.Dowling/C.Campbell

Fiat Abarth 500

F

236

12:02:10.4274

23

66

M.Driver/D.Stutterd/G.Stewart

Seat Leon Supercopa

D

212

12:02:25.3885

24

7

D.Herridge/J.O’Dowd/A.Kennard

Subaru WRX Sti

D

208

12:02:00.0281

25

54

A.Alford/P.Leemhuis/M.O’Connor

Lotus

C

204

12:00:46.5294

26

35

R.Shaw/I.Padayachee/A.Fisher/A.Zerefos

Porsche 997 GT3 Cup

B

183

12:03:19.9139

27

97

W.Mortimer/A.Mortimer/M.Lyons/F.Lyons

BMW M3 GT4

D

126

12:01:50.0025

28

59

M.Cherry/M.Campbell/L.Ellery

Fiat Abarth 500

F

10

12:02:10.4385

DNF

65

J.Augustine/B.Schoots/P.Freestone

Daytona Sportscar Co

D

236

11:22:45.0971

DNF

67

J.Lowrey/T.Richards/J.Venter

Porsche 997 GT3 Cup

B

208

11:38:48.1888

DNF

45

D.Padayachee/R.Muscat/B.Mawer

Porsche 997 GT3 Cup

B

190

10:50:27.6678

DNF

17

M.Griffith/K.Reindler/D.Gaunt

Ginetta G50

C

181

08:04:19.6719

DNF

6

R.Gartner/G.Duffy/M.Hector/S.Kostera

Porsche 997 GT3 Cup

B

168

08:18:55.1272

DNF

14

O.Gavin/R.Huff/R.Meins/K.Gleason

Audi R8 LMS

B

91

04:10:14.4445

DNF

48

J.McMillan/S.Richards/D.Wood/R.Lilley

Lamborghini Gallardo

A

78

03:23:51.5977

DNF

55

G.Shedden/P.Storey/B.Gower

Lotus Exige

C

68

07:07:51.4015

DNF

32

R.Kelly/K.Chiyo/A.Buncombe/W.Reip

Nissan GT-R NISMO GT

A

58

02:23:59.4994

DNF

33

W S Mok/C.Baird/M.Griffin/H.Hamaguchi

Ferrari F458 Italia

A

57

02:23:38.3679

DNF

23

R.Lago/D.Russell/P.Kox

Lamborghini Gallardo

A

5

00:18:09.2993

DNF

42

A.Gilbertson/A.Chapel/J.Clements

BMW M3 E46 GTR

D

1

02:22:16.6137

 

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