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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Bentley Leads at Halfway in Bathurst

Maxime Soulet leads Bathurst 12 Hour in No. 7 Team M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3…

Photo: John Dagys

The No. 7 Team M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3 of Maxime Soulet leads the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour at the halfway mark.

Soulet holds a 1.2-second lead over the No. 77 Team Craft Bamboo Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo of Maro Engel, who has closed the gap in recent laps of the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli season-opener.

The No. 60 59Racing McLaren 720S GT3 of Ben Barnicoat runs third, ahead of the No. 888 Triple Eight Mercedes Evo of Shane Van Gisbergen in fourth, meanwhile.

Race action has remained green since Garth Tander’s heavy accident in the third hour, which resulted in a 30-minute safety car period prior to the race’s resumption.

Trouble then hit the pole-sitting No. 911 Absolute Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R of Patrick Pilet in the fourth hour when the Frenchman suffered a right-rear puncture.

It was compounded by a 15-second penalty for a breach of pit stop protocol that put the car one lap down.

The same penalty was handed to the No. 999 GruppeM Racing Mercedes Evo as well, which was served during each car’s following stops.

Audi’s problems continued with the two remaining factory-backed entries making unscheduled stops.

A rev sensor issue forced the No. 2 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo of Dries Vanthoor into the garage, while the No. 222 Audi had a tire rub that cost the Team Valvoline entry considerable time with two right-rear punctures in successive stints. 

Another car to hit trouble was the No. 76 R-Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT3, which pulled into the garage to change its front splitter in the fourth hour.

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

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