Fighting fourth at Bathurst for GRM's McConville and Jones Cameron McConville and Andrew Jones have had their best race result of the V8 Supercar Championship Series with a fighting fourth place finish in the biggest race of the year -...
Fighting fourth at Bathurst for GRM's McConville and Jones
Cameron McConville and Andrew Jones have had their best race result of the V8 Supercar Championship Series with a fighting fourth place finish in the biggest race of the year - the Bathurst 1000.
The duo were strong for the entire 161 lap race and, despite a couple of close calls that threatened to derail the #34 GRM Commodore during the race, McConville was forced to fight hard in the final laps to hold out a closing Russell Ingall.
After qualifying 11th, McConville started the race and quickly settled into a fast pace that he and Jones were able to carry through the majority of the race.
A major multi car pile-up on lap 145 at the Cutting nearly brought McConville undone as he picked his way through the carnage. A hit from behind forced the Victorian to fight his damaged Commodore hard to make it to the finish but he still crossed the line fourth.
"After the hit in the crash at the Cutting the car struggled. I'd been lining up a run on the Nathan Pretty Commodore and I saw it happen so I went to the inside and was pretty much stopped when I got hit from behind," said McConville.
"It must have broken something because it made the car a bit of a handful for the last 15 laps. I knew Russell was chasing us hard and I had a tyre problem so I had to press on in the last lap to get home.
"All in all, it's a great result. The team have worked hard. We had a few close calls out there today but to come home fourth in a big effort in a race where there was carnage everywhere."
Co-driver Jones had a scary moment at Forrest's Elbow on lap 114 when Dean Canto's Falcon ran up the inside and understeered into the Repco Valvoline Cummins car, very nearly putting it into the wall and out of the race.
"It surprised the hell out of me and we were really lucky to still be in the race after that," said Jones, whose fourth place was his best ever Championship Series result.
"I got in for the first stint and the car felt good. The back of it then felt a bit lazy and it was a bit hairy over the top of the Mountain for the rest of the stint. "From there on we were just fighting for our lives. The second stint was better. In the end I'm pretty happy with our result.
"It makes you believe that you can do a good job at the right time when the circumstances are right and that's what happened today. It's my highlight of the year for sure."
The result moves McConville back into the top 10 in the championship.
The #33 car of Lee Holdsworth and Phil Scifleet was an unlucky victim of the lap 145 crash at the Cutting. After earlier running strongly and on the verge of the top 10, the car had a busy day.
Scifleet had HSV DT driver Mark Noske clash with him across the top of the Mountain and crash out on lap 33. The former then had a most unusual problem on lap 121 when his bonnet flew up and smashed his windscreen on Mountain Straight.
Completely unsighted, the Sydneysider bravely drove back to the pits at slow speed to allow the GRM crew to remove the windscreen and send the car back out.
Holdsworth resumed only to become an innocent victim of the crash at the Cutting that was triggered by contact between Greg Murphy and Marcos Ambrose. He was released from the track medical centre without injury.
"I had just grabbed fifth gear and must have been doing 230 kph when the bonnet flew up," said Scifleet.
"It felt like I had hit a brick wall. I was really worried about being rammed from behind going at such a low speed."
The team now moves to the Gold Coast in two weeks time for the next V8 Supercar Series round.
With the Bathurst event complete, all drivers can now drop their worst score from the first 10 rounds of the series. The revision to the points system this year means that all races at the remaining rounds (Gold Coast, Tasmania and Phillip Island) will count.