BATHURST 24-HOUR FINAL UPDATE MONARO CRUISES TO 23-LAP WIN IN BATHURST 24-HOUR With just 500 kilometres' pre-event testing under its wheels, Holden's new 7.0 litre Monaro completed a near-faultless 3181 km run to win the inaugural Bathurst ...
BATHURST 24-HOUR FINAL UPDATE
MONARO CRUISES TO 23-LAP WIN IN BATHURST 24-HOUR
With just 500 kilometres' pre-event testing under its wheels, Holden's new 7.0 litre Monaro completed a near-faultless 3181 km run to win the inaugural Bathurst 24-Hour race at Mount Panorama today.
With two-time Bathurst 1000 winner Steve Richards at the wheel, the Monaro crossed the line at 4pm, cheered from the side by team owner Garry Rogers and co-drivers Garth Tander, Nathan Pretty and Cameron McConville.
It finished with a 23-lap advantage over the second car, the British-entered Mosler MT900R with owner Martin Short at the wheel.
They were followed by the near-standard BMW M3 of Austria's Duller Motorsport, driven by Howard Redhouse, Peter Hannen and Dominic Beninca.
A total of 25 cars finished from the 36 starters.
Significant retirements included the British Porsche GT3 RS of Cirtek Motorsport, driven by David Brabham, Allan Grice, Darren Palmer and Austria's Manfred Jurasz.
The car led from 8.30 last night to 11.30 this morning, when the first of its major problems occurred.
The crew repaired a broken rear suspension in just 30 minutes and sent Darren Palmer out to rejoin in third position. However, Palmer crashed at the first corner and the team's race was run.
Cameron McConville said it was the most enjoyable race he had contested.
"When we had a problem with the fuel early in the race, Garry told us not to give up and so we pushed on," he said.
Tander said: "We come here with a car that had only done 500 kms before this weekend and got it through 24 hours. that's fantastic and a real tribute to the guys who have built it over the past nine months."
Promoters PROCAR Australia announced after the event that the second Bathurst 24-Hour will be held on 5-7 December 2003, subject to final approval from the Bathurst City Council and the host television network.
PROCAR Chairman Ross Palmer said the event exceeded all expectations, attracting a three-day attendance of more than 21,000.
"One week ago I was a little worried about only having 37 cars, but Le Mans started with 32 entries. This event is here to stay."
The event appeared to be an unqualified success with competitors and spectators.
Viewers of the Seven Network's live coverage called the station in Sydney asking for more reports and the official website www.bathurst24hr.com collapsed several times under the pressure of fans from around the world following update reports, results and live video.