Sunday, February 8, 2015

NISMO Outmuscles Audi, Aston Martin and Bentley for Bathurst Victory

Katsumasa Chiyo timed the final restart to perfection as the Japanese driver was able to maneuver around the dominant #15 Phoenix Racing Audi of Laurens Vanthoor heading into turn one for second and around the #10 M-Sport Bentley of Matthew Bell up the mountain straight for the lead. Chiyo would lead the final two laps as #35 NISMO Nissan GT-R GT3 won the world class GT3 affair, completing 269 laps.

It is Nissan's first Bathurst 12 Hour victory and it is the first Bathurst 12 Hour victory for all three drivers; Chiyo, Florian Strauß and Wolfgang Reip. Strauß becomes the seventh different German to win the once-around-the-clock classic at Mount Panorama while Chiyo and Reip become the first Japanese and Belgian respectively to take the top step of the podium in this race.

Vanthoor with co-drivers Markus Winkelhock and Marco Mapelli have to settle for second in pole-sitting #15 Phoenix Racing Audi while Stefan Mücke was able to make a last lap pass on the #10 Bentley of Bell to get on to the podium for the #97 Craft Bamboo Racing Aston Martin with co-drivers Darryl O'Young and Alex MacDowall. Bell, Steven Kane and Guy Smith will have to settle for fourth.

The #36 Erebus Motorsports Mercedes of Jack LeBrocq, Dean Canto and Richard Muscat round out the top five as for the second consecutive year, the top five cars all finish on the lead lap. The #49 Vicious Rumour Racing Ferrari of Andrea Montermini, Benny Simonsen and Renato Loberto were the first car one lap down in sixth while the #32 JBS Australia Lamborghini made it seven different manufactures in the top seven positions with Roger Lago, David Russell and Steve Owen.

The #33 Clearwater Racing Ferrari of GT World Champion Toni Vilander, Matt Griffin and Mok Weng Sun finished eighth. The #16 Phoenix Racing Audi of Stéphane Ortelli, Christopher Haase and Felix Baumgartner finished ninth while the #9 Hallmark/Network Clothing Audi of Christopher Mies, Marc Cini and Mark Eddy nipped the #12 ICE Break Porsche of Patrick Long, David Calvert-Jones and Chris Pither for the final spot in the top ten. Both the #9 Audi and #12 Porsche finished two laps down.

The Jamec Pem Audi both finished four laps down with the #75 of James Winslow, Steve McLaughlin and Dean Koutsoumidis besting the sister #74 Audi of Warren Luff, Alessandro Latif and Greg Crick in 12th. The #2 Fitzgerald Racing/Evolve Technik Audi of Matt Halliday, Peter Fitzgerald and Michael Almond finished 14th, five laps down.

Rounding out the top fifteen is the Class I winning #93 MARC Cars Australia Focus V8 of Garry Jacobsen, Adam Gowans and Ben Gersekowski. They completed 262 laps.

Sixteenth overall was the Class B winning #47 Supabarn Supermarkets Porsche of Marcus Marshall, Sam Power, James Koundouris and Theo Koundouris having completed 261 laps, two ahead of the class runner-up, #4 Grove Group Porsche Ben Barker, Luke Youlden and Stephen Grove.

The #54 Donut King Lotus of Tony Alford, Mark O'Connor and Peter Leemhuis won Class C by finishing 24th overall, completing 249 laps.

The #23 Bruce Lynton BMW of Beric Lynton, John Modystach and Robert Thomson were victorious in Class D, finishing 27th overall after completing 242 laps.

Nissan becomes the third different Japanese manufacture to win the Bathurst 12 Hour. Mazda won three consecutive years from 1992-1994 and Mitsubishi won back-to-back editions in 2008 and 2009. The last four Bathurst 12 Hours have been won by four different manufactures.