Sunday, February 9, 2014

Ferrari Wins Bathurst 12 Hour

A race-record 296 laps completed wasn't the only record set at the end of the Bathurst 12 Hour. The race ended with the closest margin of victory at 0.4138 seconds between first and second and just over three seconds covering the top four.

A late caution bunched up the cars on the lead lap but the the fight in the end was between the #88 Maranello Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 and #84 HTP Motorsport Mercedes SLS AMG GT3. Craig Lowndes was able to hold off the 2013 Blancpain Endurance Series champion Maximilian Buhk and add a Bathurst 12 Hour victory to his résumé of five Bathurst 1000 victories, three Australian Touring Car/V8 Supercars championships and nearly one hundred career wins.

Joining Lowndes on the top step of the podium were John Bowe, Mika Salo and Peter Edwards. Bowe stands alone now as the all-time leader in Bathurst 12 Hour victories with this being his third. His first victory came in 1995 and was the most recent Australian to win the event in 2010. This is Edwards and Salo first victory in the event and Salo becomes the first non-German European driver to win the event. This is Ferrari's first Bathurst 12 Hour victory and ends a four-year run of German manufactures winning the event.

Joining Buhk in second are 2013 Bathurst 12 Hour winner Thomas Jäger and Swiss driver Harold Primat. The #63 Erebus Motorsport Mercedes of Will Davison, Jack Le Brocq and Greg Crick rounded out the podium. The #37 VIP Holdings McLaren MP4-12C GT3 was up front all day and looked to be in great position to take the victory before falling to fourth position with a driver line-up of Shane van Gisbergen, Tony Quinn, Klark Quinn and Andrew Kirkaldy. The #3 Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS Ultra GT3 of Rahel Frey, René Rast and Laurens Vanthoor finished fifth, the final car on the lead lap.

The #25 United Autosport Audi of Markus Winkelhock, Mark Patterson and Eric Lux finished sixth, two laps down. The defending race winning #1 Erebus Mercedes of Bernd Schneider, Maro Engel and Nico Bastian finished five laps back in seventh after having to go to the garage while leading to replace their brakes with under four hours to go.

The Class B winning #4 Grove Group Porsche 997 GT3 Cup of Earl Bamber, Stephen Grove and Ben Barker finished eighth overall, two laps ahead of ninth overall and second in Class B #12 Competition Motorsports Porsche of David Calvert-Jones, Patrick Long and Alex Davison. The #9 Class Network Clothing/Hallmarc Audi of Marc Cini, Mark Eddy and two-time Bathurst 12 Hour winner Christopher Mies rounded out the top ten.

Class C was won by the #54 Donut King Lotus Exige Cup R of Tony Alford, Peter Leemhuis and Mark O'Connor. They finished twenty-fifth overall.

The #22 GT Radial/ Radio Hauraki SEAT León Supercopa of Richard Billington, Lewis Scott and Stuart Owens won Class D by finishing sixteenth overall.

The non-production Class I, the #70 MARC Focus GT of Grant Denyer, Adam Gowens and Garry Jacobson won the class and finished fifteenth overall.

In the invitational Class F, the #96 Fiat Abarth 500 of Luke Youlden, Paul Gover, Gregory Hede and Mike Sinclair took victory with an eighteenth place finish overall.