WPS BATHURST 12 HOUR -- HOUR ONE
The 2008 WPS Bathurst 12 Hour has gotten off to a flying start this morning, with the first hour and 22 laps of action providing plenty of thrills for race fans at Mount Panorama.
At the close of the first 60 minutes of the 12 hour endurance challenge the lead was held by Damien White (#87), followed by Klark Quinn (#29), David Wall (#43), Paul Morris (#20), Bob Pearson (#33), Steve Owen (#11), Mark King (#34) and James Winslow (#26) with Terry Wyhoon (#71) and Garry Young (#80) making up the top ten.
Kicking off at 6.43am, pole-sitter David Wall had a heart in mouth moment on the start when his Mitsubishi Evo 9 GSR balked on the starting line, however he recovered to follow the three-wide battle of Paul Morris, Klark Quinn and Damien White into Caterpiller Corner.
With the Mitsubishi EVOs of White and Quinn and the 2007 WPS Bathurst 12 Hour winning BMW 335i of Morris running fast and close three-wide up the Mountain spectators could have been forgiven for thinking they were watching a sprint race, with the frenetic pace to continue over the opening laps with a fierce battle for the lead seeing multiple changes taking place by the time the leaders passed the start/finish line for only the third time.
When the field crossed the line for the first time it was led by two-time V8 Ute champion White, followed by Morris, Quinn, with David Wall, Mark King and Bob Pearson making up the top five.
The lead would soon change, with Queenslander Quinn challenging and winning the lead on lap two, on which he would set the fastest lap of the time only four tenths off 2007's fastest time, which was set by Morris on lap 105. The dice for the lead would continue over the hour, with White reclaiming and holding onto the lead for the remainder, while Morris, Pearson and Quinn continued to do battle.
Further back in the pack, the weekend's struggles continued for the Briffa Smash Repairs entry, which is already running one-man down when planned third driver Brett Holdsworth was unable to compete due to failing to complete the minimum amount of laps in practice and qualifying. Smoke has billowed from the #8 entry, with numerous visits to the pits failing to shed light on the issue. As the session ticked over the 60 minute mark the team were scratching their heads to find a solution but refusing to give up on rejoining the race at that stage.
White currently holds the fastest lap, set on lap 19 -- 2.31.9374, which easily eclipses 2007's fastest lap of 2.32.1348.