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Leahey holds front-running position at 6 Hour halfway point
Sunday 9th April, 2023 - 3:11pm
While the only change in the weather was the occasional glimpse of the sun, the running order leading up to the halfway point of the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour on Mt Panorama had numerous leaders and changes.
After 57 laps, Class X cars hold down the top seven positions with the top three covered by 1.2 seconds. Tim Leahey leads from Grant Sherrin and Ben Kavich, all in BMWs.
Then follows Aaron Russell (BMW), Tony D’Alberto (HSV GTS), and the BMWs of Tyler Everingham and Simon Hodges.
Brett Hobson (A1 Mercedes AMG A45) is next from Ryan Casha (A2 Ford Mustang) and tenth placed Adam Burgess (BMW).
In 21 st position Scott Nicolas (Mazda 3 MPS) is the leading Class C car while Murray Dowsett (Toyota 86) is one place further back and the Class D leader.
Twenty third and at the head of Class B1 is Jordan Cox (BMW 135i) while B2 has Murray Ferns (Holden Commodore SSV) in front.
Meanwhile Stephen Doorey and Mark Taubitz on the same lap in their Class E Mazda 3 SP25s.
Just five minutes into the second hour the second safety car emerged after A1 rivals Hadrian Morrall (EVO X) and Ben Wilkinson (BMW M135) clashed at Hell Corner and went off into the sand trap.
Just after the race resumed, Will Davison (Lynton M3) passed Simon Hodges (taking over from Jayden Ojeda in the M4) for the lead.
Shortly after Marcos Ambrose (Ford Mustang) moved into second place.
At about the same time, Dwayne West (X HSV GTS) had a lucky escape with a spin in the Esses that resulted in no contact.
Not so lucky later on was Chistoph Heiniger who smacked the wall at Forrest Elbow, although he was able to put in a safe position off the track.
But when Jason Gomersall parked off the track at Hell Corner with no drive due to a clutch issue, the third safety car was deployed, and more mandatory pit stops were undertaken.
When the race went green again, it was Ambrose in front of Chris Lillis (A2 HSV Clubsport), Drew Russell (BMW M3), Ryder Quinn (Mustang), Hodges and Alex Holzl (EVO X).
Just at the end of the second hour, Russell took the lead. Quinn was second Lillis, Hodges, Holzl and Kavich (BMW M2 Competition).
Ambrose came into the pits and resumed with Tim Brook at the wheel of the Mustang. It would return just a few laps later and was garaged with a blown gearbox.
Almost immediately, the fourth safety car appeared due to Brianna Wilson (A1 Subaru Impreza WRX STi) going into the tyre barrier at Griffin Bend.
The race went green again on lap 42 with 25 cars on the lead lap.
Quinn led the way from Holzl, Kavich, Hobson, Garth Walden (BMW M3), Sherrin, Burgess (M4), Aaron McGill (A1 Ford Falcon GT-F), Steve Owen (A2 Lexus RC F) and Dean Campbell (EVO X).
The next safety car (the fifth) came 20 odd minutes later.
Matt Harris in the BMW 335i that won two 12 hours previously was parked at Murrays Corner and Patrick Navin was in the sand trap at McPhillamy Park in the VW Scirocco after tagging the wall.
Sherrin took over the lead from Kavich, Hobson, Leahey, Hodges, D’Alberto, Russell, Campbell, Ryan Casha (Mustang) and Brent Edwards (B2 Holden Commodore SSV).
The Speedcafe BMW had succumbed to its fuel pressure related issues from qualifying while both the Osborne Motorsport Class C Renault Meganes were in the garage for attention, one with driveshaft issues and the other with a small fuel fire.
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