Bathurst 1000 Delivers The Drama
Australia’s greatest race – The Bathurst 1000, lived up to all its hype and expectation at Mount Panorama today, by providing another exciting race filled with all the usual hope, drama and heartache for every team who took part – and Stone Brothers Racing (SBR) was no exception.
Heading into the weekend knowing it had what it takes to do the job, SBR – like others – fell victim to various hindrances in today’s 1000km contest, but in true SBR style, fought to the end to post some respectable results given the hurdles they faced.
SBR’s early hope, Shane van Gisbergen and John McIntyre in the #9 SP Tools Racing Falcon, was looking comfortable running in the top-five during the early stages of the race, with van Gisbergen kicking off the enduro with a 25-lap stint before handing over to McIntyre. The pair kept the leaders in reach until lap-99, when a reckless Marcus Marshall tipped McIntyre around at ‘The Elbow’ which sent the #9 Falcon tumbling back to 20th place. The pair recovered with van Gisbergen staging one of his signature fight-backs – blasting his way from 19th to their finishing position of 6th in just 20-laps.
The #47 Lucky 7 Racing pairing of Tim Slade and Dan Gaunt were the second of SBR’s cars across the line today with a hard-fought 12th place. Starting from 15th on the grid, Slade made ground early, but on lap-57, Owen Kelly punted Gaunt at ‘The Chase’ which in-turn required an extended pit stop to rectify the damage. With Slade at the wheel for the run home he punched his way back for a well-earned 12th.
After enjoying a positive pre-race preparation, Alex Davison and David Brabham in the #4 IRWIN Racing Falcon was looking a strong contender this weekend – and in the early stages of today’s race the good form continued. But as Bathurst does, an ill-timed Safety Car while running inside the top-ten cost them eight places which signaled the start of several rough moments for the IRWIN pair. A battery replacement, drive-through penalty and unscheduled pit stop for tyres hurt #4 – pushing them back to last at one stage, but like their teammates they fought back, eventually finishing the punishing race in 16th place.
Today’s results see van Gisbergen maintain his third placing in the Championship behind Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes. Davison also maintain his position in ninth place and Slade moves up to 12th.
The SBR Falcons will return to the track on October 20, when they take to the streets of Surfers Paradise for the Gold Coast 600.
Ross Stone – Co-Owner, Stone Brothers Racing
“Well that’s Bathurst. We had good cars this weekend and the boys all did a great job but as is the nature of this place, everything can be tipped on its head pretty quickly. Johnny Mac getting spun around at ‘The Elbow’ was a turning point for car #9 which really hurt their chances. Car #4 had their drive-through and unscheduled stop for tyres hurt them and Timmy and Dan got caught out with the Safety Car when (Jamie) Whincup stopped then started again holding them up.”
Shane van Gisbergen – Driver, SP Tools Racing Car #9
“Generally a cruisey race from my side. Things were looking ok until Johnny got turned around. I pushed hard and we recovered to some extent but I’m pretty disappointed with Marcus (Marshall).”
John McIntyre – Co-Driver, SP Tools Racing Car #9
“Things were looking good early on. We had plenty of pace and the car was feeling really good. We were really lucky today because the punt from Marcus could have ended our race. We never gave up and Shane probably deserved a better result but we did well enough to preserve his Championship position.”
Tim Slade – Driver, Lucky 7 Racing Car #47
“The turning-point for our race was being caught out of synch with the Safety Car – we had good fuel strategy and were fighting back but lost it when we had to pit for the damage to the rear bumper. 12th was a good result as we were struggling with turn coming down the hill (‘The Dipper / Elbow’) –other than that sector the car was really strong.”
Dan Gaunt – Co-Driver, Lucky 7 Racing Car #47
“It was a real rollercoaster race for us today. Sladey drove brilliantly in his stints and it’s a bit tough missing out on a top-ten finish considering everything that happened. I’m really happy though how it panned out – we have a straight car and we have bagged some good points for Tim.”
Alex Davison – Driver, IRWIN Racing Car #4
“I’m disappointed we didn’t have a better result today. The lead-in to the race had everything looking good, we had plenty of car speed and but come the race, it just didn’t go our way. We lost time in the double-stop and then copped a drive-through. We staged a comeback of sorts but the car was damaged and made progressing further a tough ask. ”
David Brabham – Co-Driver, IRWIN Racing Car #4
“I expected more today. The car had great pace and was really well balanced all weekend. Things just didn’t go our way today. We lost out at the first stop, I locked it up through ‘The Chase’ and our tyre trouble all cost us - but through our strategy we climbed back into the top-ten but then our car pace dropped due to the damage to our front-end. Once again this race delivered like only it can.”