Habul: Gounon ‘made the difference’ in Bathurst 12 Hour

Jules Gounon, just after taking the chequered flag at Bathurst

Jules Gounon, just after taking the chequered flag at Bathurst

SunEnergy1 team owner and driver Kenny Habul says Jules Gounon “made the difference” in a tight Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.

The Frenchman was in the driver’s seat for the final stint and beat Porsche driver Matt Campbell to victory by a margin of just 0.9267s, with Maro Engel less than half a second further back in the GruppeM Mercedes-AMG.

SunEnergy1 had rolled the dice on a fuel-only final stop for its own Mercedes-AMG in order to get track position relative to GruppeM and the Manthey EMA Porsche, which had fresh rubber for the run home at Mount Panorama.

It proved a decision which helped to win the race when Engel could not pass without unloading Car #75, an incident for which he was hit with a drive-through penalty.

However, Gounon was still kept honest as he assumed the lead with 18 laps to go, with Campbell running only around one second back for the latter 14 of those.

“I think Jules made the difference,” said Habul.

“Those times that he was putting in on old tyres… the Porsche was coming and Maro did really well to catch back up; I think, three more laps, Maro would have got both of them, so it was an amazing comeback.”

Gounon, who shared the victory with Habul and Luca Stolz for the second year in a row, admitted he was not optimistic about being able to keep the #912 Porsche behind him.

Campbell was more than five seconds behind the #75 Mercedes-AMG once it was righted after the hit from Engel, but had a pace advantage in the region of half a second per lap until he got particularly close.

“I was not confident at all because he really closed really quick,” recalled Gounon.

“But, I knew that with a GT3, closing is something but being behind with the aero wash is something else.

“I hunted down, the stint before, so I saw his strengths and I found my strengths, so I really tried to optimise the place where I could avoid being overtaken, so back into Conrod Straight and stuff like that, but it’s just amazing.”

The 28-year-old is in fact now a Bathurst 12 Hour winner three times in a row, having been part of the victorious Bentley crew in 2020.

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