Coates Hire Racing’s Nick Percat and Oliver Gavin have finished a sensational third in an incident-packed, Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1,000 today.
Percat started the race 11th and was running well in the top ten by quarter distance.
The race was red-flagged for only the third time in its history on lap 61, due to the track surface breaking up, causing several incidents at turn two.
Track repairs took almost an hour leaving the 54,275 attendees to cool their heels on a warm and sunny day at Mount Panorama.
The teams used the intermission to undertake repairs and refresh their cars with Percat and Gavin running 15th at the time.
Leading was David Russell – Nissan from, Dean Canto – Ford, Steve Johnson – Ford, Tim Slade – Holden, Ant Pedersen – Ford, Craig Lowndes – Holden, Jack Perkins – Ford, Todd Kelly – Nissan, Will Davison – Erebus and early leader, Scott McLaughlin – Volvo.
When racing resumed McLaughlin led from Shane van Gisbergen - Holden, Lee Holdsworth – Mercedes, and Mark Winterbottom – Ford.
Just prior to mid race Scott Pye had a scary moment when his car careened into the wall at almost 300kmh at the end of Conrod Straight. Although the car was wrecked, Pye was okay. Two laps earlier his teammate Steven Johnson tagged the wall at the top of the hill, putting him out of the race. Then both the Volvo’s of Robert Dahlgren and Scott McLaughlin tagged the wall in separate incidents, triggering the safety car.
At the three quarter mark, Percat and Gavin had avoided all the carnage in the HHA Racing V8 Supercar and were running fifth.
Then on lap 133 Holdsworth was hit by Russell Ingall going into turn two, resulting in both cars slamming into the fence with Holdsworth ending up on his roof. Ingall got going, but Holdsworth was out and most importantly uninjured.
With 11 laps to go Holden driver Tim Blanchard crashed heading into the Cutting, triggering the tenth safety car of the day.
After setting pole position, leading the race and setting the pace virtually all day, disaster struck leader Shane van Gisbergen, with 10 laps remaining, when his car refused to start after his final pitstop. He eventually got going but was out of contention.
It then came down to an enthralling eight-lap sprint to the end that was battled out by Whincup, Mostert, Lowndes and Winterbottom. Lowndes accidently tapped Winterbottom into a spin on lap 154 and suffered a drive through penalty, with Winterbottom loosing any chance of victory.
It was then down to Whincup and Chaz Mostert, who both started rom the rear of the grid and now led the race.
It wouldn’t be Bathurst without one final twist and this year it was Whincup running out of fuel on the final lap that saw Mostert, then Moffat and Percat race past, to claim Bathurst podium finishes.
In the longest race time in the event’s history, 7 hours 58 minutes and 53 seconds, the 2014 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1,000 winners were Chaz Mostert and veteran Paul Morris in one of the most bizarre races in its 52-year history. The famous Moffat name reappeared on the podium, with James Moffat (son of four time winner Allan) and Taz Douglas finishing second, with third going to Nick Percat and Oliver Gavin after a sensational drive.
Nick Percat: "Our car was pretty speedy all day and I kept telling Ollie (Gavin) we had a good car, even though I handed it to him massively detuned at times. I also want to say a massive thank you to Alex (Somerset - Percat's Car Manager) who got me through the last 60 laps. We had the cool suit stop working so I was opening the door during the safety car periods to try and cool down. We just pushed on to the end and had a great dice with Winterbottom towards the end and there was no way the Ford was going to pass us or we were going to miss out on a podilum, so it was pretty hectic".
Oliver Gavin: "Today was pretty extrodinary. Coming to Bathurst, the whole week has been an amazing experience and I have to thank Walkinshaw Racing and Nick in particular who showed me the way around Bathurst in a V8 Supercar which is so tough and tricky. I've never seen a race like this and I've done plenty of races and events around the world. Today was unreal and kept everyone on the edge of their seats".
2014 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1,000
1 Chaz Mostert/Paul Morris
2 James Moffat/Taz Douglas
3 NICK PERCAT/OLIVER
4 Will Davison/Alex Davison
5 Jamie Whincup/Paul Dumbrell
6 Mark Winterbottom/Steve Owen
7 Todd Kelly/Alex Buncombe
8 Rick Kelly/David Russell
9 Fabian Coulthard/Luke Youlden
10 Craig Lowndes/Steven Richards
BOWE’S CHALLENGING WEEKEND
The penultimate round of the Touring Car Masters saw Coates Hire Racing ambassador John Bowe arrive here holding a comfortable championship lead.
Qualifying saw Bowe and his TransAm Mustang outgun Andrew Miedecke Camaro, Keith Kassulke Falcon XB Coupe, Greg Crick Charger Kim Jane Falcon XB Coupe and Jim Richards, Falcon Sprint, to claim pole position.
He went on to claim honours in the opening of three races from Miedecke, Kassulke, Crick, Jane and Mark King Camaro RS in sixth.
The second race was a reverse grid for the top ten and saw Bowe start 10th. He worked his way forward and on lap five was battling for fourth place when he ended up running through the gravel trap dropping three spots to eventually finish eighth. On this occasion, victory went to Richards from Crick, Cameron Mason in a Mustang Fastback, then Kassulke, Mark King driving a Camaro RS and Jane in sixth.
Greg Crick achieved what Chrysler never did back in the 1970’s and crossed the line first in a Charger and win at Bathurst. After starting fourth and getting into the lead on the opening lap, Bowe suffered a mechanical issue at the Chase and was forced to retire. Second across the line was Jane, followed by Richards, Kassulke, King and Les Walmsley in a Monaro.
“That was a tough weekend”, said John Bowe after the dust had settled. “Qualifying and race one went to plan but perhaps I peaked too early as things didn’t work out quite as we wanted for the rest of the weekend! I am thrilled to see my mate Greg Crick have a win a Bathurst. We now turn our attention to Phillip Island for the last round of the championship which is sure going to be close”.