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Ojeda wins Bathurst 6 Hour in thrilling fashion
Sunday 9th April, 2023 - 6:31pm
A tense and thrilling 2023 Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour has finished with one-lap flyer after the eleventh Safety Car with Jayden Ojeda driving Simon Hodges’ Class X BMW M4 to victory.
The race had everything with eleven safety cars, a red flag for a period and close results in most of the classes.
Ojeda had the pace for the last hour, survived a tap with a lapped car that bent the steering, and was 2.7s ahead of the Russell family, father Wayne and brothers Drew and Aaron (BMW M3).
Third across the line was Tyler Everingham but the M3 he shared with Garth Walden and Michael Auld was docked 15 seconds for passing under the last yellows.
That elevated Anton De Pasquale, Anthony Soole and Adam Burgess (M4) to third ahead of Thomas Randle, Ben and Michael Kavich (M2 Competition).
Everingham was relegated to seventh ahead of polesitter Will Davison, Beric Lynton and Tim Leahey (M3) while the battle for seventh and A2 honours went right down to the wire with Ryder Quinn (sharing with Tony Quinn and Grant Denyer) passing Ryan Casha (also Rylan Gray and Chris Delfsma) on the line, the Ford Mustangs just 0.1 seconds apart.
Behind them came Dean Campbell and Cameron Crick (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X) after they took the A1 lead off Dylan O’Keeffe, Brett Hobson and Michael Sheargold (Mercedes AMG A45) with 15 minutes to go.
Third in class and eleventh were Ian Salteri, Cem Yucel and Adrian Sarkis ahead of Nathan Callaghan, Chris Lillis and Matt Holt (A2 HSV Clubsport).
Next were the B1 winners Jordan Cox, Scott Turner and Rob Rubis (BMW 135i) who started last in 59th position. B2 went to Brent Edwards, Cody McKay and Brad McDonald (Holden Commodore SS-V) while Murray Dowsett, Mitch Maddren and Lachly Bloxsom were the winners of Class D.
Despite a drive through penalty for contact with another car and later a stop to replace a driveshaft, Nic McLeod and Brock Giblin (HSV Astra VXR) took out Class C after pacesetters Jake Camilleri and Scott Nicolas (Mazda3 MPS) were stranded on the circuit after 86 laps.
Class E was also a close contest between the two Mazda3 SP25s where Andrew Jackman/Cameron Beller/Mark Taubitz won by less than two tenths of a second over Phil Alexander/Stephen Doorey/Shane Fowler.
Just into the second half of the race, Kris Mackie overdid it at Hell Corner and smacked the inside wall which meant the appearance of the safety car for the sixth time.
The next Safety Car was for Michael Ferns with his Class B2 Holden Commodore SS-V off at the Chase and with a sufficient oil dump that saw several others went skating off the road, but at least they were able to continue.
The oil deposit was enough to temporarily suspend the race with a red flag situation.
There was the unusual sight of all the healthy cars lined up in pit lane, many of which were undergoing tyre changes while waiting for the race to resume.
The pause for the clean up took just over 20 minutes before they took to the track behind the safety car.
The race resumed just before the culmination of the fourth hour with Tim Leahey (BMW) in front ahead of Duane West (HSV GTS), Ian Sherrin (BMW), Ben Bargwanna (Audi TTRS), and Dylan O’Keeffe (Mercedes AMG A45). Then followed Cameron Crick (Evolution X), Adrian Sarkis (A1 VW Golf R), Darren Forrest (A2 Clubsport), Keith Bensley (A2 Lexus) and Grant Denyer (Ford Mustang).
The eighth Safety Car came when Bensley had contact with Nic McLeod into McPhillamy Park and fired off into the tyre barrier.
At that time Sherrin had dramas and pitted briefly to check the front suspension and it was found to have broken a rear mount.
With an hour and 15 minutes remaining the ninth safety car was out for Paul Razum (HSV Clubsport) stopped in the Cutting.
It was a blessing for the Class X cars to complete their last mandatory stops and also get the last fuel replenish, that would see them run to the flag.
While under the cautionary period the Bargwanna Audi was blowing smoke and pitted with what appeared to be a coil failure.
The fifth hour passed with the Safety Car still on the circuit. Ojeda was leading from Russell, Randle, De Pasquale, Davison, O’Keeffe, Ian Salteri (Golf R), Casha, Cowham and Crick.
With 37 minutes left on the clock Jason Walsh was at the wheel of the Class D Honda Integra Type R when it expired in a plume of smoke after Hell Corner. That brought out the tenth safety car.
The last safety car came five minutes from the end. Coleby Cowhan (Mustang) was into the wall out of Murrays Corner and Paul Loiacono (EVO X) similarly so at Forrest’s Elbow.
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