HOLDEN drivers Ed Aitken and John Faulkner splashed through one of the wettest Bathurst days in memory to win the Super Cheap Auto 3-Hour Showroom Showdown at Mount Panorama today.
With Faulkner at the wheel, the V8 Commodore HSV GTS crossed the finish line 7.34 sec. ahead of Scott Anderson/Ross Almond (Mitsubishi) after a torrid journey of almost 334 kms. Mazda RX-drivers Phil Kirkham and Ric Shaw were third.
Despite non-stop rain that created treacherous conditions, only nine of the 55 starters failed to finish Australia's most prestigious race for standard passenger cars.
In a car that experts predicted would be one of the thirstiest and most challenging to drive in the rain, Aitken and Faulkner maintained impressive speed and economy for 53 laps. They took advantage of three slow-speed safety car periods to conserve fuel, making only one pit stop when other teams required two.
The race lead changed eight times. Faulkner hit the front on lap 43 and drove with gusto to the finish, sliding the Commodore spectacularly through the corners on top of the mountain and claiming the fastest lap of the day on his second-last lap.
Wayne Park/John Cowley (Honda) claimed the Sport Touring class on their last lap, while James Philip/Kent Youlden (Falcon XR8) and Daryl Coon/John Bowe (Falcon XR6) won their classes.
Last year's FAI 1000 V8 Supercar winners Greg Murphy and Steven Richards switched to a four-cylinder Holden Astra today to win the Bartercard 4-cylinder Touring class. <pre> RESULTS: Outright 1. Ed Aitken/John Faulkner (Holden Commodore HSV GTS) 2. Scott Anderson/Ross Almond (Mitsubishi Lancer RS Evo V) 3. Phil Kirkham/Ric Shaw (Mazda RX-7) 4. Chris Kousparis/Mark Brame (Nissan 200SX Spec-R) 5. Barry Morcom/Mark Stinson (Mazda RX-7) 6. Mark King/Rod Wilson (Mitsubishi Lancer RS Evo V) Class Poolrite High Performance: Ed Aitken/John Faulkner (Holden Commodore HSV GTS) Poolrite Sports Touring: Wayne Park/John Cowley (Honda Integra Type R) Poolrite V8 Touring: James Philip/Kent Youlden (Ford Falcon XR8) Poolrite Six-cyl. Touring: Daryl Coon/John Bowe (Ford Falcon XR6) Bartercard Four-cyl. Touring: Greg Murphy/Steve Richards (Holden Astra GSi)