Bathurst 12 Hour: Bentley back in front with three hours to go

With just a quarter of the 2016 Bathurst 12 Hour remaining, there’s a tight battle at the front between the #10 Bentley, the #1 Nissan, and the #59 Tekno McLaren.

Having hung around on the lead lap for all of the last three hours, it was some swift pit work during the latest safety car period that has put the #10 Bentley into the lead.

With all of the top three drivers diving into the pits when Austin Cindric – who was on the lead lap and in contention in the #63 Erebus Mercedes – hit the wall hard at Griffins due to a puncture, the M-Sport squad got the job done fastest to give Matt Bell and the Bentley the lead.

He got out narrowly ahead of the #1 Nissan, which continues to run second, with Florian Strauss in the car, thanks to another incredibly consistent, trouble-free stint.

The reigning champion team has also made its brake pad change, having got it done with a little more than five hours to go when Class A-Am leader Tony Quinn caused a safety car by bogging his McLaren on a kerb at the top of Mount Straight.

The #59 Tekno McLaren sits third, Jono Webb behind the wheel.

One of the more remarkable stories of the last three hours is that of the #2 Phoenix Audi. After several hours of trying, the German squad finally had pit stops fall the right way to get back on the lead lap with a little over five and a quarter hours to go.

The car then turned lead lap into the actual lead by staying out when Aaron Seton spun his MARC Mazda at the final turn and subsequently brought out the safety car.

A subsequent stop when Markus Winkelhock ran out of time behind the wheel dropped the #2 car back to P5, which became P4 during the flurry of stops, right on the nine-hour mark.

That batch of stops was for the #63 Erebus Mercedes, which retired from the lead lap almost exactly as the race ticked over to nine hours. Cindric had not long been onboard when his left-front tyre blew, sending him hard into the wall at Griffins, ending that car's race on the spot.

Erebus had some bad luck with its #36 entry too, which fell off the lead lap during the last round of stops thanks to a long brake pad change. 

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About this article
Series Endurance
Event Bathurst 12 Hour
Track Mount Panorama Circuit
Article type Race report