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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Soulet Maintains Lead for Bentley into Final Three Hours

No. 7 Team M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3 still out front at Bathurst 12H…

Photo: SRO

Bentley Team M-Sport leads the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour at the three-quarters distance mark as Jordan Pepper handed the No. 7 Bentley Continental GT3 over to Maxime Soulet.

Soulet led the field back to green flag racing at the nine-hour mark after a safety car with just over three hours to go when Oliver Jarvis spun on the exit of The Dipper in the sister No. 8 Bentley.

Jarvis had been running on the tail end of the lead lap as a left-rear puncture pitched the car into a spin. The Englishman, however, avoided any contact with the wall.

The Bentley needed recovering after ending up facing the wrong way, leading to the yellow.

Soulet led the No. 888 Triple Eight Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo of Maxi Goetz and Yelmer Buurman in the No. 77 Craft-Bamboo/Black Falcon Mercedes Evo in third.

EBM pushed the No. 1 Porsche 911 GT3 R into the garage for a brake rotor change in the sixth hour under green flag conditions, with Laurens Vanthoor rejoining three laps down after the brake issues.

The fourth safety car came out in the seventh hour when Dennis Lind stopped on track with a fuel pump issue in the No. 63 Orange 1 FFF Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo, ending a record 4 hour and 10-minute green flag run.

Moments later the No. 30 Honda NSX GT3 Evo also stopped on track at the top of the Mountain with Renger van der Zande behind the wheel and needed recovery.

A number of teams took the opportunity under the yellow flag invention to complete brake changes, including both M-Sport Bentleys.

Pepper resumed the race still in the lead in the No. 7 Bentley, while drivetrain issues for the SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes saw the Grove Racing Porsche of Ben Barker take over the GT3 Pro-Am lead.

59Racing’s No. 60 McLaren 720s GT3 was handed a 30-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane which it served in the eighth hour, seeing the car which led early in the hands of Ben Barnicoat relinquish third.

The car was then given a drive-through penalty for ignoring blue flags, adding further delay.

The No. 34 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, meanwhile, has been retired after damage sustained in an incident with a kangaroo in the opening stages of the race.

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

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