Team BOC 'Played The Cards' For Fifth
Drama is a staple of the famous Bathurst 1000 and Team BOC and Jason Bright were right in the thick of it in the closing stages of today's race.
A stroke of luck saw Brighty jump into third place with less than 30 laps to go when Jamie Whincup ran out of fuel on lap 138, causing a safety car. As Whincup limped back to the pits the race-pack mistook him for the race leader, queuing behind him and allowing Team BOC, which had pitted for fuel, to leapfrog them all.
On the restart, Brighty could not hold off a charging Craig Lowndes but thought he had the better of Mark Winterbottom until the penultimate lap when ran wide at The Dipper, only narrowly avoiding disaster.
Despite the last-minute disappointment, the finish was a welcome result for the team after running just outside the top ten for most of the day (see race summary below).
The next race is the Gold Coast 600 from October 21-23.
"The rate Frosty had been catching me I thought it was worth trying to hold him off but, down the Mountain, we were struggling a bit.
"I was pushing really hard to make sure I had a big gap going onto Conrod every lap so I was a bit on the edge and just put a wheel onto the marbles into the Dipper on that second-last lap. I bumped the wall and was trying to keep it off the marbles on the other side but he had the inside line.
"I'm disappointed with the weekend as a whole but I'm very happy with a fifth place out of a car that we were struggling with all day. It did get better during the race but it wasn't as quick as the three or four ahead of us so I'm glad I could race and hang onto fifth. Earlier in the race we wouldn't have been able to do that."
Team BOC Co-Drive
r "To finish where we did is a massive credit to the people that work here. We were obviously very lucky with how the safety car fell but we played the cards right. It's just a shame that Brighty ended up with a knife in that gunfight at the end!
"I think we would have been a bit cheeky to finish on the podium because our car, although good, was not outright pacey enough. I was really happy with my first stint but the second was a bit disappointing. I locked a left-front brake on the restart. "
Start [JB in car]
In the first stint the engine seemed to 'cut out' as Brighty went into the Dipper, causing Fabian Coulthard, who was right behind, to take evasive action. He clipped the back of the Team BOC car before hitting the wall. After that Bright started feeling a vibration at the end of the straights. He put it down to the tyres and struggled for pace during the rest of his stint.
L20: First driver change [AJ into car]
Jonesy immediately started to lap 0.5s quicker than Brighty, confirming there had been a problem with the tyres in the first stint. AJ got up to P13 half-way through his stint but, on one of the restarts, flat-spotted a tyre when the car in front bogged. He nursed the car for the rest of his stint, passing it over in P16.
L63: Second driver change [JB into car]
Unfortunately the team pitted one lap before the safety car that was caused when a GRM car beached in the sand trap. The safety car held Brighty up for approximately 15 seconds before realising he was not the leader. In the meantime everyone else got a 'free stop', which meant instead of popping out in the top ten he came out P18 and maintained position for a short stint.
L87: Third driver change [AJ into car]
The team opted to get Jonesy back in the car after a safety car for Dean Fiore, who was beached in the sand trap. Jonesy lined up P13 behind the SC and was up to P11 by L92, when rain started to spit. He passed several cars to hand over from P8 at the end of his stint.
L112: Fourth driver change [JB into car]
Brighty jumped back in the car just one lap before David Besnard's car hit the barriers, erupting into flames. JB lined up 12th behind the subsequent safety car. The crew decided to top-up fuel when another safety car, for debris on the track, was called just nine laps later. Brighty rejoined 14th but had no pace off the restart and dropped to 17th. A final safety car was called on lap 138 when Jamie Whincup ran out of fuel. As Whincup limped back to the pits the race pack mistook him for the race leader and queued behind him. Brighty was already in the pits and rejoined third thanks to the confusion. Despite renewed pace in the final 20 laps, Brighty could not hold off a charging Craig Londes and Mark Winterbottom, finishing the race fifth.