POLL: Who impressed you most at Bathurst?
The 2017 edition of the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 proved to be another classic, with four different race leaders in the final 30 laps and at least six other cars that were in contention to win during the race.
Ultimately, it was David Reynolds and Luke Youlden of Erebus Penrite Racing who prevailed in a maiden victory for both drivers and the underdog team.
Which driver impressed you most across the four-day event?
Read through our shortlist of contenders and cast your vote in this week’s Pirtek Poll.
David Reynolds, #9 Erebus Penrite Racing Commodore, 1st
Starting from an impressive second, Reynolds had gone largely unnoticed for much of the day, but a workmanlike performance from the 32-year-old saw him assume second position when Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander both ran off at the penultimate restart.
Reynolds, who had not been outside the effective top 10 all day, snatched the lead from Nick Percat a lap later and never looked back to go one better than his runner-up finish in 2012.
Luke Youlden, #9 Erebus Penrite Racing Commodore, 1st
Youlden described himself and Reynolds as over performing ‘rejects’ in the post-race press conference, in a reference to their time at DJR Team Penske (as a co-driver) and Prodrive Racing Australia, respectively.
However, after Reynolds earned a front row starting position in the Top 10 Shootout, Youlden was an early leader of The Great Race.
While he wasn’t faultless, spinning at Murray’s Corner on lap 27 but only ceding half of his lead, Youlden wasn’t alone in that department and proved a more than competent co-driver who helped to keep the Erebus-built Commodore in contention all day.
Scott Pye, #02 Mobil 1 HSV Racing Commodore, 2nd
Scott Pye, too, achieved his best result in the Bathurst 1000 on an important weekend for the Walkinshaw Racing organisation.
On a weekend when the fallen giants of Supercars announced a new partnership with Andretti Autosport and United Autosports, Pye drove a measured race and sat third with three laps remaining.
He would then make a tricky move past Nick Percat on the run to Reid Park, on his way to second position.
Warren Luff, #02 Mobil 1 HSV Racing Commodore, 2nd
Car #02’s rise from 20th on the grid to second by the chequered flag was built in part on clever strategy.
However, there is no doubt that the co-driver in question in that strategy game, Warren Luff, helped lay the foundation.
As the only part-timer starting the race, Luff gradually drove himself up through the field, allowing Pye to take over in sixth position when the opening round of pit stops had played out.
While he did blot his copybook slightly with an off at The Chase on Lap 82, Luff’s opening stint played a major role in the pair’s race.
Dale Wood, #99 Erebus GB Galvanizing Racing Commodore, 4th
Arguably an even greater upset than car #9 winning the race was the sister Erebus Commodore of Dale Wood and Chris Pither finishing one position off the podium.
While they rose from 21st on the grid to a midfield position by around the lap 50 mark, Wood popped up in fourth at the second-last restart.
Consistent with their under-the-radar rise, the 34-year-old had assumed that position by virtue of keeping his head when others were spraying off the track.
Chris Pither, #99 Erebus GB Galvanizing Racing Commodore, 4th
Like Wood, Pither hardly rated a mention all day until they emerged as podium contenders late in the piece.
In a race when most headlines were made for throwing away potential wins or podiums, staying out of the limelight was reflective of Pither not making mistakes that others made.
Shane van Gisbergen, #97 Red Bull Holden Racing Team Commodore, 5th
Having shown little in the way of pace during the first half of the race, and with co-driver Matt Campbell having run off the road several times (or in one case, been pushed), van Gisbergen helped to haul car #97 back onto the lead lap on lap 71.
The 2016 championship winner showed menacing pace in the latter stages but made two critical errors, the first saw him run wide at Murray’s Corner while in the lead with 17 laps to go.
Six laps later, having recovered to third, he threw the Red Bull Commodore off the road at The Chase.
Despite dropping to 12th due to having to pit again, van Gisbergen drove back up to fifth at the finish.
Garry Jacobson, #56 Mega Racing Falcon, 8th
The 2016 Dunlop Super2 Series winner was one of the faster drivers in the wettest of conditions and even prompted speculation that he might be chosen to finish the race in car #56 instead of primary driver Jason Bright.
From lap 22 to lap 72, Garry Jacobson climbed from an effective 17th to fifth, as high as the car ran all day.
Chaz Mostert, #55 Supercheap Auto Racing Falcon, 10th
Chaz Mostert led from lap 2 until the end of his first stint, before setbacks in the form of a slow pit stop and subsequent drive-through penalty for spinning wheels during said stop.
From laps 75 to 88, however, Mostert was one of the fastest cars on track and drove back into the lead as Prodrive team-mate Cameron Waters struggled on his new tyre set.
An unfortunate timing of a Safety Car meant stopping under green flag in the final laps to ensure the 2014 Great Race winner could get home on fuel.
A tangle involving Garth Tander and Cameron Waters on lap 145 ended any hopes of a strong result.
Garth Tander, #33 Wilson Security Racing GRM Commodore, 18th
Car #33 struggled in the wet but came on as the track began to dry out and Garth Tander moved his way up to second position for the penultimate restart.
While the three-time Bathurst 1000 winner thought he was on for a fourth for the briefest of moments when van Gisbergen skated off in front of him, Tander had also been caught out by the unexpected conditions and slid into the gravel.
That set off a chain of unfortunate events, the first being the contact with Mostert which damaged the car, before a now conservative Tander undid himself by staying too wide at The Cutting and slugging the wall on lap 148.
Tim Slade, #14 Freightliner Racing Commodore, 9th
After a weekend that began with a heavy crash at The Dipper in opening practice, Tim Slade carved his way from 18th on the grid to ninth courtesy of an impressive opening stint.
Partnered by stand in co-driver Andre Heimgartner, Slade took over the car for the final stint around the fringes of the top 10 but was without a cool suit or helmet fan.
The South Australian fought valiantly against rising temperatures inside the car before the conditions became too much.
Heimgartner took over the car for the final laps, guiding the entry to ninth at the flag.
Scott McLaughlin, #17 Shell V-Power Racing Falcon, DNF
The Kiwi produced a moment of sheer brilliance to log a stunning record breaking 2:03.8312s lap to secure pole position for Sunday’s race.
Scott McLaughlin’s feat was made even more impressive having been untidy across the top of the mountain. The time arrived after breaking the practice lap record on Friday.
The DJR Team Penske driver led the race before a mistake on Lap 2 at Murray’s Corner in slippery conditions dropped him back.
McLaughlin recovered well before an engine failure struck the entry on lap 75 with co-driver Alex Premat at the wheel.
Richie Stanaway, #6 Monster Energy Falcon, 16th
Touted as a future Supercars star, the Kiwi showed his talent following a stunning display when the track was at its wettest.
Richie Stanaway took over the car on lap 22 from Waters which marked the start of a blistering stint that saw him lap easily quicker than the rest of the field.
He took the lead on lap 52 and surged into a sizeable advantage before returning the car back to Waters, who was caught up in a clash with Mostert and Tander that dashed the car’s podium bid.
Nick Percat, #8 Boost Mobile Commodore, DNF
Percat combined with Macauley Jones to produce a stellar display to halt the #8 BJR car back onto the lead lap after losing time due to a pit lane penalty for a seatbelt infringement.
Percat also showed his class when he became the first to fit slicks on a damp but drying track on lap 120
He then emerged in the lead when van Gisbergen and Tander ran off the road on the lap 145 restart.
Percat was forced to save fuel that saw him drop back to third before a lock up at The Chase dropped him further down the order.
Having flat-spotted a tyre in the incident he then crashed on the final lap.
James Moffat, #34 Wilson Security GRM Commodore, DNF
The Garry Rogers Motorsport driver starred as he mastered tricky wet conditions to rise from 22nd to inside the top five after 19 laps.
Aided by a strong performance from co-driver Richard Muscat, Moffat emerged in podium contention by lap 123.
While occupying third, Moffat lost the rear of his Commodore at McPhillamy Park 16 laps later. A further incident at Sulman Park ended his race.