Gounon explains race-winning Bathurst 12 Hour save

Jules Gounon

Jules Gounon spins after contact from Maro Engel. Picture: Fox Sports

Jules Gounon has explained how he stopped his Mercedes from sliding into the gravel trap after he was turned around by Maro Engel at the Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.

The SunEnergy1 car was unloaded on Lap 300 when Engel showed the nose at The Chase in a bid to make a pass for the lead in the GruppeM Mercedes-AMG.

The German did indeed emerge from the incident in first position but had to hand it over five laps later when he served a pit lane penalty for what stewards deemed a driving infringement.

Gounon was there to pick up the pieces given he had righted Car #75 quickly enough to leave The Chase in second position, about five seconds up on the Manthey EMA Porsche which was running third, and was not headed again despite late pressure from Matt Campbell.

However, the Frenchman could easily have found himself waiting for a tractor to pull him out of the gravel trap if not for some quick thinking inspired by, ironically, Engel.

“For me, I thought I was in the gravel so I disconnected the TC [traction control] because I saw Maro doing it last year and I think it works when you’re in the gravel,” he recounted.

“So, when I just lost it, I disconnected TC and I put flat-out and I think that’s what [ended up] putting me back towards the track.

“Then I was like, ‘Okay, well it’s like this; we will finish P2,’ and I defended my best but as Kenny [Habul, co-driver and team owner] said, we gave everything and the officials decided something, but you just give everything to win this race.”

The victory may have been the second in a row at Bathurst for SunEnergy1, Habul, and Luca Stolz, but it is the third straight for Gounon given he was part of the victorious Bentley crew in 2020.

The 28-year-old nevertheless found himself humbled by Mount Panorama earlier in the weekend.

“We’re going to have to go back again, which is a good news,” he laughed.

“But, I don’t think about the record or anything; this place is so humbl[ing].

“I got hammered in quali – four tenths – by Maro [who broke the qualifying record to take pole position] and it puts you back in your shoes, you know?

“So, in this place when you’re not in a good day… yesterday, I was feeling shit in the car and immediately this place make you humble, and that’s what we love about this place.

“You need to respect the track, respect the history, and when you drive flat-out through the wall[s] with Maro hunting you down or Matty Campbell, it’s a difficult feeling.

“As I say, I have not so much hair but, every race here, for sure I lose even more.”

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