Posted on February 2, 2020 Tags: Bathurst 12H
IT MAY HAVE TAKEN THEM FIVE YEARS, but British brand Bentley and its international team of Pro drivers have won the 2020 Liqui-Moli Bathurst 12Hour, greeting the chequered flag as the heavens finally opened up after threatening the ravaged region for hours.
French driver Jules Gounon, Belgium’s Maxime Soulet and South African Jordan Pepper started 11th in their Team M Sport #7 Bentley Continental GT3 in its iconic British Racing Green livery but led for much of the race – including the final hour as the major storm bore down on Mount Panorama.
The #59 Racing McLaren 720S GT3 piloted by Portugal’s Alvaro Parente and Brits Ben Barnicoat and Tom Blomqvist joined them on the podium ahead of the Triple Eight Race Engineering Mercedes-AMG of Shane van Gisbergen, Maximilian Goetz and Jamie Whincup.
Both the McLaren and the Merc team cars were upped one position post-race after second-place finisher #999 Gruppe M Mercedes-AMG was penalised for a pit stop infringement.
Bentley become the sixth different winner in the past six years on the Mountain. Averaging 160+km/h (the old ‘ton’) for the record 314 laps, I’m reliably informed that’s like driving from Adelaide to Brisbane!
It was a spectacular television event. Stunning vision from Fox Sports, brilliant commentary from John Hindhaugh, Jonny Palmer, Richard Craill and others – the Liqui-Moli Bathurst 12 Hour is firmly cemented on the world endurance calendar.
Garth Tander, Perth’s three-time Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 winner, was the first official retirement – also triggering the first Safety Car – in a frightening crash he described simply as “scary”.
The 42-year-old Audi Sport driver was tight behind the Audi R8 of Dries Vanthoor, who ran wide at the fast McPhillamy Park left-hander.
With nowhere to go Tander lost control, spinning and managing to just miss the front of the 21-year-old Belgium before thumping bigtime into the tyre wall.
“I’m okay; it was a pretty big hit. Dries ran a little bit wide, and I just pinched the car a bit narrow, not trying to pass him, just trying to avoid him.
“You can’t really be off the throttle there, and I was just trying to be gently off the throttle, and it just swapped ends on me.
“When it swaps ends and goes the other way like that, it’s scary. I could see the wall coming, you know it’s coming, but I’m okay.”Garth Tander, speaking with Speedcafe.com
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