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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Wildlife Incident “Kangaruined” Walkenhorst’s Race

Early collision with kangaroo curtails Walkenhorst BMW’s Bathurst 12 Hour…

Photo: SRO

An early race incident with wildlife for Nicky Catsburg “kangaruined” the No. 34 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3’s race and resulted in an untimely exit from the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.

Catsburg struck a kangaroo on the exit of Forrest Elbow while running at low-speed under an early-race safety car during the second hour of the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli season-opener.

It left damage on the left-front corner of the BMW, which ultimately led to the demise of the German squad’s sole entry.

The team made an attempt at repairing the car as the BMW ran for more than three hours after the collision.

However, rising engine temperatures forced the factory-backed squad to retire the Catsburg, Chaz Mostert and Augusto Farfus-driven machine.

Catsburg quipped that their race had been “kangaruined” after a positive opening portion and expressed regret for the incident.

“We got very unlucky in my first outing,” Catsburg told Sportscar365. “Chaz just did one and a half stints at the beginning of the race. He did a good job and overtook some cars.

“Then I got in the car and there was an early safety car in my first stint and I was just going really slowly, like 80 km/h [50 mph] and all of a sudden there was a kangaroo out of the Elbow in front of my car.

“Unfortunately I hit it, which is very bad for the kangaroo and also bad for our car and eventually that damage led to our retirement because of overheating issues.

“I think it’s safe to say our race got ‘kangaruined’.

“Engine temperatures were rising and rising and rising with the [air] temperature coming up as well and dust storm coming in it seems.

“We were just running to our limit and we didn’t want to risk the car.”

Walkenhorst’s early race retirement brought the curtain down on a difficult weekend for the team after a shipping delay meant one of its cars didn’t make it to Australia.

It also marks the second year running the team didn’t made half distance at Bathurst after last year’s single-car entry dropped out due to mechanical problems.

“Honestly this year is maybe even more unfortunate because the amount of effort they had to put into this because of their logistical issues,” Catsburg said.

“Everyone worked day and night to try and make it happen and we’re all here and it happened.

“Then unfortunately you have something like this happen that ruined our race which is just very bad luck.”

Slade Perrins is an Australian-based junior reporter for Sportscar365. Perrins won the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars 'Young Gun Award' for journalism for his work with speedcafe.com.

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