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Morris/Searle clinch dramatic Bathurst 6 Hour win

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Sunday 16th April, 2017 - 7:13pm

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The race-winning Morris/Searle BMW

Paul Morris and Luke Searle have sealed an incredible victory at the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour, with Searle passing Chaz Mostert inside the last five minutes of the race.

Searle and Mostert had been locked in battle for the final stanza of a Safety Car-interrupted race, before problems saw Mostert slow inside the final three laps of the race in the Ford Focus.

The BMW M135i of Morris and Searle had been on contention throughout the day, leading the race on three separate occasions over the course of the six-hour race.

An engine failure late in the race for Craig Baird, who was in fifth at the time in the Mercedes AMG A45, prompted an intense battle for the lead which saw Mostert set a new lap record on the 110th lap.

Gremlins in the leading Focus afforded Searle a run on Mostert down Conrod Straight, the BMW driver pouncing at the Chase.

“I was up the inside of him and I started looking around for yellow flags because it was too easy,” Luke Searle said.

“I was putting it all on the line, so I had to get him.

“I don’t know where that little Ford found its legs at the end there. Chaz was driving the wheels off it; we were driving the wheels off it.”

Mostert explained that gearbox problems plagued his run home.

“We dropped fifth and sixth gear, but that’s not a mechanical, I think that’s a bit more of driver abuse,” admitted the Ford star.

“We were getting pushed pretty hard there for that whole last stint from Luke and I’m going to put my hand up for that one; I think I was a bit harsh on the old production car box!”

Earlier in the day, pole-sitters Grant and Iain Sherrin lost three laps when a hose worked its way lose in the BMW M4.

The duo had been leading at the time before dropping outside of the top 50 in the record 64-strong field.

Over the next four hours they worked their way back onto the lead lap, and looked to have battled their way back into contention for the race win before a puncture ultimately ended their hopes of victory.

It was a tough day at the Mountain for Dylan Thomas and Tim Slade too, the pair forced out of the race with an engine failure while leading the race.

They were soon joined on the sidelines by John Bowe and David Wall when a driveshaft engine saw their Mitsubishi EVO IX grind to a halt on the entry to the Cutting, ironically at the same place as the Thomas car had earlier in the race.

Both incidents drew the Safety Car, which was called into action 11 times throughout the six-hour event, heading the field for almost half of the race’s six-hour duration.

In third place was Ryan Simpson and Jim Pollicina in the Mitsubishi EVO, the pair leading 14 laps during the course of the race.

Struggling with brakes in the closing stages, Simpson attempted a last gasp move at Forrest’s Elbow on Duvashen Padayachee to claim third on the road, though the Mercedes AMG A45 driver hung on to the place.

Simpson therefore crossed the line fourth, which became third when Padayachee was handed a 32-second post race penalty.

The Padayachee/Ben Porter/Robert Woods car was found to have completed one of their compulsory stops in 2:29s, one second under the minimum transit time for pit lane.

The penalty demoted the trio to sixth and the last car on the lead lap.

Karl Reindler passed 29 cars on the opening lap alone as he climbed from 59th to second before the CGR Performance driver hand the car to Andrew Richmond.

The pair ultimately finished fifth overall.

Jack Perkins and Leigh Burges raced their way to victory in Class B, keeping last year’s race winning BMW 335i inside the top 10 for much of the race to end the day.

Super 2 racer Todd Hazelwood put in a strong final stint to claim Class C honours with co-driver Robert Rubis, finishing just two laps down on the overall race winners in the Toyota 86.

Mark Caine and Jimmy Vernon combined to take out Class D, while John McCleverty, Bradley Zacka and Michael Zacka won the Invitational Class.

Race: Results, Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour

Pos Nbr Cls PIC Name Car Gap Diff
1 62 A1 1 Searle-Morris-Graham BMW M 135i Hatch F20 –113laps–  
2 1 A1 2 Morcom-Mostert Ford Focus RS LZ 9.683 9.683
3 7 A1 3 Pollicina-Simpson Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X RS 23.970 14.287
4 80 A1 4 Lynton-Leahey BMW M Coupe (1 Series) 41.485 17.515
5 46 A1 5 Richmond-Reindler Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X RS 43.759 2.274
6 29 A1 6 Woods-Porter-Padayachee Mercedes Benz A 45 AMG 55.419 11.660
7 56 A1 7 Alford-Eddy Audi TTRS 8J –112laps– 1:55.898
8 11 B1 1 Burges-Perkins BMW 335i E92 8.926 8.926
9 95 A1 8 Abela-Hill Subaru Impreza WRX Sti G-4 22.644 13.718
10 15 B1 2 Kavich-Kavich-Pilkington Subaru Impreza WRX Sti G-2 1:45.814 1:23.170
11 58 A1 9 Alford-Parrish BMW M Coupe (1 Series) –111laps– 1:30.424
12 53 A2 1 Symonds-Lane-Bargwanna Holden VY-HSV GTS 11.735 11.735
13 48 B1 3 Gore-Galang-Bensley BMW 135i E82 25.868 14.133
14 94 A1 10 Wallis-Wallis BMW M Coupe (1 Series) 26.192 0.324
15 66 A1 11 Agathos-Gibbons Subaru Impreza WRX Sti V-1 39.446 13.254
16 27 B1 4 McFarland-Hough Subaru Impreza WRX Sti G-2 42.527 3.081
17 3 D 1 Reeves-Sutton Toyota 86 GTS ZN SER 54.156 11.629
18 40 C 1 Rubis-Hazelwood BMW 130i E87 54.185 0.029
19 37 D 2 Vernon-Caine Toyota 86 GTS ZN SER 1:00.013 5.828
20 6 A1 12 O’Dowd-Thompson Mitsubishi Lancer EVO XRS –110laps– 1:39.198
21 23 I 1 McCleverty-Zacka-Zacka Ford Falcon AU 55.421 55.421
22 35 C 2 Shaw-Cox-Sloss Mazda RX-8 RX8A 57.060 1.639
23 22 I 2 Jarvis-Jarvis Ford Falcon AU 1:18.627 21.567
24 12 A1 13 Salmon-Atunes Mercedes Benz A45AMG –109laps– 1:29.328
25 43 C 3 Cox-Gosling BMW 130i E87 48.108 48.108
26 28 B1 5 O’Donnell-O’Donnell-O’Donnell BMW 335i E92 56.047 7.939
27 24 B2 1 Walden-Auld-Bloomfield Holden VE SSV-Redline –108laps– 2:23.247
28 83 A1 14 Muston-Paddon Mitsubishi Lancer EVO IX RS 10.319 10.319
29 39 D 3 Bailey-Thewlis Toyota 86 GTS ZN SER 39.891 29.572
30 49 D 4 Crowe-Grubel Toyota 86 GTS ZN SER 59.087 19.196
31 10 C 4 Raddatz-Cancian Alfa Romeo Gulietta QV –107laps– 1:28.675
32 51 A2 2 Flanagan-Malouf Holden VY2-HSV GTS 42.413 42.413
33 13 C 5 Osborne-Morrall Renault Megane RS 265 Trophy R 53.235 10.822
34 76 B2 2 Williams-Bilski Holden VE SSV-Redline 1:12.703 19.468
35 71 I 3 Trewin-Cameron Holden Commodore VT –106laps– 2:31.768
36 98 D 5 Williams-Metcalf-Sugden Toyota Camry 44.688 44.688
37 8 I 4 Carr-PaulJarvis Ford Falcon AU –105laps– 2:11.703
38 17 C 6 Aubin-Aubin Renault Megane RS 265 14.600 14.600
39 50 D 6 Keene-Keene-Martens Mini Cooper S JCW R53 –104laps– 49.021
40 47 D 7 Baker-Windsor Honda Integra Type R 1:26.261 1:26.261
41 21 I 5 Williams-Williams-Burges Kia Proceed GT –101laps– 8:53.259
42 61 I 6 Stephenson-Cotton-Harvey Hyundai Excel X3 –99laps– 3:48.539
43 77 A1 15 Soole-Burgess-Burgess BMW M Coupe (1 Series) 34.069 34.069
44 54 B1 6 Stefan-Barnett BMW 335i E92 –98laps– 2:42.362
45 88 I 7 Andersen-Donnelly Ford Falcon AU –96laps– 5:39.185
46 65 A1 16 Andrews-Griffith Mitsubishi Lancer EVO IX RS –93laps– 6:53.673
47 25 I 8 Cowham-Kearns Ford Falcon AU 1:37.291 1:37.291
48 16 A2 3 Hodges-Hudspeth-Coulthard Holden VY CSV Monaro Mondo GT –87laps– 18:25.212
49 86 D 8 Phillips-Abbate Toyota 86 GTS ZN SER –86laps– 3:40.025
50 33 D 9 Foote-Cauchi Nissan Pulsar N15 –52laps–  
DNF 45 A1   Walden-Baird Mercedes Benz A45 AMG –105laps–  
DNF 4 A2   Muir-JamieHodgson Holden VE-HSV GTS –86laps– 15:24.555
DNF 18 A1   Sherrin-Sherrin BMW M4 F82 –85laps– 23:22.447
DNF 52 D   Heath-Heath Toyota 86 GTS ZN SER –80laps– 4:33.876
DNF 44 A2   Clift-Clift-Heffernan Holden VZ-HSV R8 Clubsport –78laps– 25:36.394
DNF 69 B2   Krinelos-Virag-Loscialpo Holden VF SSV Redline CL –58laps– 2:34.288
DNF 85 D   Kirkham-Kirkham-Cameron Mazda MX6 GE 2.5 –56laps– 2:45.456
DNF 55 D   Hopp-Sortwell-Pittman Eunos 30X –53laps– 25.668
DNF 31 C   Everingham-Hughes Renault Megane RS 265 Trophy R –49laps– 2:41.788
DNF 20 A1   Wall-Bowe Mitsubishi Lancer EVO IX GSR –37laps– 2:28.683
DNF 68 A1   Thomas-Slade Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X RS –30laps– 2:29.499
DNF 5 C   Westwood-McMahon BMW M3 E36 3.0L –7laps– 18.351
DNF 67 A1   Gray-Gomersall Ford FGII G T-F –2laps– 2:36.497
DNF 75 A1   McGill-Tebb Mitsubishi Lancer EVO VIII RS –1laps– 1:24.688

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