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
|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|
|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||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|