Paul Dumbrell put it perfectly: “You would not get a better motor race. You couldn’t have written it like this”…and what a great race it was!
A gruelling 30 last laps lead to a photo finish with Jamie Whincup crossing the line a mere 0.3s in front of rival David Reynolds to win the 50th Bathurst 1000 in a magnificent finale.
In front of a record breaking 57,939 strong crowd (bringing the cumulative crowd for the four days to 207,205), Whincup took his fourth win at Bathurst for the TeamVodafone Holden Commodore with his co-driver Paul Dumbrell taking his first win, in disbelief.
“I honestly didn’t think we were getting home,” Dumbrell admitted after the race.
But get home they did. Craig Lowndes and Warren Luff finished off the podium for Team Vodafone after they fought from the middle of the pack due to the claim third.
James Courtney and Cameron McConville came in fourth, followed by Michael Caruso and Greg Ritter for Fujitsu Racing who put in a solid performance.
There was the usual Bathurst drama, with Steve Owen crashing the VIP Petfoods car on Lap 55, smashing into the barriers but coming out unhurt, and a total of six safety car interventions.
Unfortunately for pole sitter Will Davison, his name is among those who didn’t make the 161 laps; Davison and McIntyre broke a watt’s linkage and finished their day on lap 131. Davison’s wasn’t the only big name to crash out, with defending champions Garth Tander and Nick Percat crashing out early on lap 38 and ultimately coming 25th.
Other non finishers included Johnny Reid’s Tekno Commodore (broken gearbox), Team iSelect’s Taz Douglas and Scott Pye (due to engine problems) and Team Hiflex Racing’s Tony D’Alberto and Dale Wood (for steering arm issues).
It was definitely a race to be remembered, with nothing certain until the cars crossed the finish line. Whincup said as much:
“It wasn’t over until the last corner of the last lap. I was trying to juggle tyres, petrol and conserve over the top – it was crazy stuff.” said Jamie, after his win.
David Reynolds, with Dean Canto in P2 (The Bottle-O Falcon) was a little more subdued, blaming his nerves for his [still amazing] finish, although the up and coming driver definitely did display his maturity and potential.
"This could be life changing this race. If we had won it would have been life changing. It was close but I was not brave enough on the last lap.
"It is not just me for Dean as well. I said if I was going to get on the podium it would be a good one, so second at Bathurst was not too bad."
Whincup’s teammate Craig Lowndes, praised the TeamVodafone crew:
"There’s no doubt TeamVodafone have the right car and driver and team behind them. This was what Jamie said that it is all about a team effort.
Mark Winterbottom, who qualified in P3 for Ford Performance Racing, only managed P11 in a rough race for the Winterbottom/Richard’s duo.
“It’s a shocker today. You can’t do much different though. The tyres just kept letting go. You were always copping the punches. The last tyre set let go in 10 laps. It’s frustrating but that’s Bathurst.
The pole sitter Will Davison, coming in 24th, had no words for what was a nightmare on the track for the FPR Falcon.
“I’m speechless. I can’t believe how bad today went. Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. It started so well but it just wasn’t our day.
“The car was good in the first stint. To top it off, I had the wildest ride of my life. I had zero brakes. I was nursing a damaged tyre and I came onto Conrod and I felt a big bang. The anti-roll bar broke, I ran over it and it cut the brake lines and I touched the brakes into the Chase and I aimed for the gravel and I was sure it was going to roll.”
Ah, how Bathurst bites.
Some interesting Bathurst facts about this race (Courtesy of V8Supercars)
* The youngest-ever combination in the race – 20-year-old Jesse Dixon and 18-year-old Cameron Waters – finished a creditable 20th in the Shannons carsales.com.au Commodore, three laps down on the winners.
* A total of 19 cars finished on the lead lap at the end of 161 laps, equaling the record set in the last two years in 2010 and 2011.
* There were nine different cars that led laps in yesterday’s race, though none more than winners Whincup and Dumbrell. Their #1 Commodore led 102 of the 161 laps, the most by a winning car since Whincup paired with Craig Lowndes to win in 2008.
* The fastest lap of the race was 2m09.5962s on lap 139 set by Shane van Gisbergen, who ultimately finished 12th.
Next on the calendar…the GC600! Stay tuned for all the Goldcoast V8 happenings on Richard’s F1!