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WRT Audi Wins Shortened Bathurst 12H

Robin Frijns, Stuart Leonard, Dries Vanthoor win shortened Bathurst 12 Hour…

Photo: Audi

Audi Sport Team WRT has claimed victory in Sunday’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, which ended early under a red flag following a heavy three-car accident in the final 20 minutes of the drama-filled event.

A fuel mileage race for the top five cars had set up a dramatic closing half-hour, led by the No. 37 Audi R8 LMS of Robin Frijns, who along with Jamie Whincup in the No. 75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 were ahead of a quartet of Porsche 911 GT3 R entries.

However, a massive pileup involving the No. 69 Audi of Ash Walsh, No. 19 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of John Martin and Bryce Fullwood’s Marc V8 Focus ultimately brought the race to a halt with 12 minutes remaining.

All three drivers climbed from the cars under their own power, although the race did not restart as a result of extensive debris scattered across the track.

Frijns shared the overall win with Stuart Leonard and Dries Vanthoor, with WRT becoming the first Belgian team to claim overall honors in the event.

It marked Audi’s third Bathurst victory and first since 2012.

Whincup and co-drivers Kenny Habul, Tristan Vautier and Raffaele Marciello were classified second, ahead of the Pro-Am class-winning No. 540 Black Swan Racing Porsche of Marc Lieb, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Tim Pappas and Luca Stolz in third overall.

The No. 12 Competition Motorsports Porsche, which was on a late charge in the hands of Matt Campbell, was forced to settle for fourth overall and second in Pro-Am.

The U.S.-based team pitted its Porsche two laps later than the competition, while under the race’s second-to-last yellow with 1 hour and 25 minutes to go, and was good to go on fuel had the race run to the full duration.

Earl Bamber brought the No. 991 Craft-Bamboo Porsche home in fifth, ahead of the No. 911 Manthey Racing Porsche in sixth, which had led with Fred Makowiecki in the final hour.

The top seven cars all finished on the lead lap.

The pole-sitting No. 43 Team Schnitzer BMW, which dominated early, retired in the 10th hour after Chaz Mostert triggered a four-car accident that also took the No. 17 Bentley Continental GT3 of Steven Kane, which had also led at one point.

Both of the Jamec Pem Racing Audis, which held control in the middle stages, also hit trouble.

A rare mistake by Kelvin van der Linde resulted in left-rear damage to the No. 22 car with four hours to go, while the No. 74 car of Markus Winkelhock ground to a halt on track with a race-ending left-rear driveshaft failure with 1 hour and 30 minutes to go.

Class B honors went to the No. 4 Grove Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car of Ben Barker, Stephen and Brenton Grove, despite an incident-filled race, while the No. 30 Boat Works BMW M4 GT4 picked up the victory in Class C.

MARC Cars Australia, meanwhile, swept the podium in the Invitational class, led by the No. 91 Marc II V8 Mustang, in its competition debut.

RESULTS: Bathurst 12H

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Neunelf

    February 4, 2018 at 1:45 am

    Audi didn’t deserve that…

  2. Barber

    February 4, 2018 at 1:47 am

    Rigged

  3. Pierre

    February 4, 2018 at 1:48 am

    Audi wins Bathurst 11.9hr ** /fixed

  4. Binky

    February 4, 2018 at 1:51 am

    I’m not happy with the end, but if the race had ended under yellow rather than red, the finish order is likely the same.

    • Binky

      February 4, 2018 at 1:52 am

      (because there was no way in hell that mess was going to be cleaned up in time for a green flag run)

  5. vanillachinchilla

    February 4, 2018 at 1:58 am

    Man this race is a spectacle for every green flag lap but the yellows nearly ruin it for me, some of these accidents too.. i hope they keep it going

  6. JC

    February 4, 2018 at 2:20 am

    Awesome race, despite the shortened ending. Blew the Daytona 24 out of the water.

  7. John

    February 4, 2018 at 2:35 am

    It seems that the gods of karma wanted to throw Audi a bone after what happened at Daytona…

    • Jenner

      February 4, 2018 at 2:20 pm

      Actually what Land did was what Penske has been going for decades, they found an ‘Unfair Advantage”. (Great book btw written by Mark Donahue).

      There is nothing in the rulebook that says you can’t modify your fuel line to prevent turbulent fuel flow going into your fuel cell, thats all they did.

      The IMSA regulator passed pre and post race testing and the fuel cell did not exceed 91 liters. The fuel flowed smoother into the tank with the proper BOP regulator, resulting in a faster fuel flow that other team’s fuel flow. If this happen to Wayne Taylor Racing, everyone would be calling this a great move by the best prepared and best crew in the business.

      Maybe if IMSA printed out all their unwritten rules, maybe teams will know what’s legal and illegal.

      BTW, Ford GT’s are faster than the field, shouldn’t they be penalized? Funny how Ford GT’s won the race by making quick pit stops yet Land lost the race for making fast pit stops.

  8. FlyingLobster27

    February 4, 2018 at 2:53 am

    Can’t help but think that marshal reaction time was a tad long on that last incident. The spun Audi had a near miss with one of the MARC Cars I believe, which came sliding out of the corner just avoiding the rear of the Audi and nearly turning in to another car, and that should have been the prompt to start waving those yellow flags hard. There were several seconds before the Mercedes arrived, yet in the backward-facing shot, there’s no waving motion to be seen until the white Mercedes had passed the marshal post… so, too late.
    Unfortunate end to the race, but you might as well call it if you don’t have time to restart it. Congrats to the finishers!

    • NaBUru38

      February 4, 2018 at 5:02 pm

      Exactly. The Mercedes crash could have been prevented. There was plenty of time to deploy a double yellow flag.

  9. Ben

    February 4, 2018 at 4:37 am

    You call this circuit great. One with so many crashes does not deserve a license Two years in a row . Other circuits would have made changes for safety. Totally a joke This is not motor racing.

    • Jonathan P

      February 4, 2018 at 4:50 am

      Agree, some one that think crashes are great racing is sick. This is like a demolition derby

      • StueyB83

        February 4, 2018 at 5:45 am

        This is Bathurst – one of the last bastions of pure racing circuits that thumbs its nose at wide run offs.

        Look at how characterless spa has become; “exceeding track limits”.

        Not a chance of that at the mountain.

        The races can be made more efficient thru improved recovery practices.

        • Jim Daniels

          February 4, 2018 at 6:02 am

          Seems you want somebody killed first before understanding what motorsport is about. Nurburgring a far greater circuit and bigger challenge had a serious accident and they immediately put steps in place to prevent another occurrence Calling a dangerous circuit great is stupid. 16 safety car periods and 47 laps behind a pace car is not a great race in my book

          • thomas

            February 4, 2018 at 8:05 am

            You race there, you accept the risk. It IS a street circuit laid out on the side of a mountain some 80 odd years ago. People have houses that butt up to the circuit in places.

            Also, if you ask any of the drivers they love the place. That for me is more than enough.

          • Ernie2492

            February 4, 2018 at 9:05 am

            And we get the boring Tilkedromes as the results..

          • Steven

            February 4, 2018 at 12:54 pm

            Not every race track should have 6 miles of runoff like Tilkedromes. The safer barriers should be utilized on the mountain. Of course it will be a tighter line going through the mountain. Mount Panorama is still one of the few race tracks left that actually punishes a driver for trying to corner cut or make a mistake.

          • StueyB83

            February 4, 2018 at 10:48 pm

            Absolutely don’t want to see anyone die. But dont want to see a circuit lose its soul to over reaction.

            Can it be tweaked? Certainly – it has in the past. The chase was added in the 80’s to slow down cars down the back straight – and has only added to the tracks challenge – unlike the mulsanne chicanes.

            Modernisation of warning systems and improved sight lines will only help improve safety but not detract from the mountain experience.

    • Rory

      February 4, 2018 at 6:09 am

      Bathurst is technically a street circuit this might shock you but people actually live near the circuit on the mountain, when there’s not racing it’s a public road and the only way on and off the mountain, you think the locals would agree to massive disrupting works to modernise it?

      • thomas

        February 4, 2018 at 8:00 am

        this…plus none of you have been there. There is literally nowhere to put run off. It’s almost a sheer cliff on the inside of the circuit.

    • Ernie2492

      February 4, 2018 at 9:02 am

      Where’s Tilke when we need him to modernized Bathurst..?? /s

  10. thomas

    February 4, 2018 at 8:01 am

    John, if you’re there, what was the reason for the 30s penalty to Craft-Bamboo? It was applied post race but I can’t find out why

  11. Steve

    February 4, 2018 at 8:20 am

    While speaking of safety, why did this race have so many wheels come loose? Every other accident showed a wheel rolling down the road. That is dangerous for everybody at the track.

    • Nick

      February 4, 2018 at 8:55 am

      Because they were crashing into a concrete barrier. No tires or safer barriers except on a few exits. Exciting to watch but not really as it seemed half of the running was under yellow. Reminded me of Sebring a few years back when almost half the race was yellow.

  12. Jenner

    February 4, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    Do you guys bitch and moan about the Indy 500 too?

    Those cars are going 220+ with ZERO runoff and smash into a cement wall. And how many drivers have died there?

    Don’t like Bathurst, change the channel and go watch Oprah.

    • Pierre

      February 4, 2018 at 3:41 pm

      It’s actually safer barriers now. And has been for awhile. Not that your point isn’t completely invalid.

  13. gtgianlu

    February 4, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    Is this an Sro event? So Why the 65 minutes per stint rule is not applied?

    • thomas

      February 5, 2018 at 1:38 am

      It’s not an SRO race but it counts towards an SRO series. Does that make sense? It is rather odd. It’s not part of the Blancpain series like the Spa 24 hours

      • gtgianlu

        February 5, 2018 at 4:36 pm

        Of course,but the Spa24h is part of the IGTC as B12 is.Bop is Sro,though

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