Bathurst: WPS Racing race report

TOP TEN FOR WPS AT BATHURST WPS Racing's Jason Bargwanna and Craig Baird recorded an impressive top ten result in Australia's highest profile motorsport event, the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, at Mount Panorama today. Bargwanna, a former ...

TOP TEN FOR WPS AT BATHURST

WPS Racing's Jason Bargwanna and Craig Baird recorded an impressive top ten result in Australia's highest profile motorsport event, the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, at Mount Panorama today.

Bargwanna, a former winner of the event, started the race from 17th position aboard the #10 WPS Racing Falcon while team-mate Max Wilson suited up in the #8 WPS Racing Falcon for the opening stint of the 161-lap race.

The top ten result combined with a 14th placing by the second WPS Racing Falcon highlighted the continued improvement by the team. It is the second year in a row the WPS outfit has recorded a top ten finish in the prestigious event.

With less than a lap completed the safety car was deployed to retrieve the stricken car of Mark Skaife who was stranded due to a clutch failure. He was also collected from behind which caused significant damage to his car.

When Wilson pitted during the second safety car period he handed the driving duties over to David Besnard. At the same time Bargwanna handed the wheel of the #10 WPS Racing Falcon to Baird.

When the race was restarted it wasn't long before Bargwanna was getting into his rhythm and moving up the order and was inside the top ten within the opening 50 laps.

The race was littered by no less than 10 safety car periods over a total of 37 laps meaning it was difficult for the drivers to maintain a rhythm.

A good, tactical strategy by the WPS crew ensured both cars remained on the lead lap and in contention for a result inside the top ten.

With 31 laps remaining Baird handed the driving duties over to Bargwanna who was to contest the final stint of the race while Besnard completed a double stint behind the wheel of the #8 WPS Racing Falcon.

When Besnard spun after contact from Richard Lyons on lap 142 he lost several positions, and also dropped a lap behind the leaders when forced into the pit area for minor repairs.

Over the final laps Bargwanna was at the back of a four car freight train for the positions eight through to 11. When Jason Richards endured a suspension failure at the end of Conrod straight the safety car was deployed to set up a seven lap dash to the finish.

Craig Lowndes, who was paired with Jamie Whincup, held on for a narrow victory ahead of Rick Kelly who competed in the event alongside his brother Todd. James Courtney and Glenn Seton finished third ahead of team-mates Russell Ingall and Luke Youlden.

Lowndes continues to lead the championship on 2378 points ahead of Rick Kelly (2277) and Mark Winterbottom (1983). Bargwanna is 14th and Wilson 15th.

The next round of the championship is the Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge on the streets of Surfers Paradise in two weeks time.

QUOTES FROM THE TEAM----

Jason Bargwanna - #10 WPS Racing Falcon
"That was one of the toughest drives I've had to do for a top ten finish," said Bargwanna.

"Once again the team did an excellent job to ensure we remained in contention for a solid result.

"Unfortunately the safety car with about 50 laps to cost us a bit because it took away our strategic advantage of only having to stop one more time when other teams in front of us needed to stop twice.

"Craig (Baird) did a fantastic job all weekend, to be paired with someone of his experience really helped the team to get a good result."

Craig Baird - #10 WPS Racing Falcon
"Overall I think we had a reasonable package," said Baird.

"We probably weren't as fast as the leading five or six cars but we were definitely fast enough to finish inside the top seven or eight. While we didn't quite meet our expectations overall the weekend was a good one.

"The team did a great job all weekend and to finish in the top ten after such a tough race is a credit to everyone involved."

Max Wilson - #8 WPS Racing Falcon
"When I look back at the weekend we've had I think a result inside the top 15 is a reasonable finish," said Wilson.

"The team did a good job all throughout the weekend to give myself and Bezzy (David Besnard) a reasonably competitive car today."

David Besnard - #8 WPS Racing Falcon

"It was good to get back behind the wheel of a V8 around Mount Panorama again," said Besnard.

"Unfortunately we just didn't have a package good enough to be near the front runners but just to get to the end of a race like today's is an achievement in itself."

Mark Larkham -- WPS Racing Team Principal
"On the whole I'm reasonably pleased to have both cars finish inside the top 15," said Larkham.

"In a nutshell we just weren't fast enough to finish further up. There were a few too many incidents early in the weekend which we were unable to recover from to be right on the pace.

"Now our focus turns to the next round, which is our home round on the Gold Coast, where we will be aiming to put on a good showing for our local fans."

-credit: wps racing

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers James Courtney , Max Wilson , David Besnard , Richard Lyons , Russell Ingall , Rick Kelly , Mark Skaife , Craig Baird , Mark Larkham , Craig Lowndes , Jason Bargwanna , Jason Richards , Jamie Whincup , Mark Winterbottom , Luke Youlden