Bathurst 12 Hour: WRT Audi wins as huge crash mars finish

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Bathurst 12 Hour: WRT Audi wins as huge crash mars finish
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Feb 4, 2018, 6:58 AM

Robin Frijns, Stuart Leonard, and Dries Vanthoor are the 2018 Bathurst 12 Hour champions, after the race was declared early due to a massive final-stint crash.

#12 Competition Motorsports Porsche 991 GT3R: David Calvert-Jones, Patrick Long, Matt Campbell, Alex Davison
#74 Audi Sport Customer Racing Audi R8 LMS: Christopher Mies, Christopher Haase, Markus Winkelhock
#74 Audi Sport Customer Racing Audi R8 LMS: Christopher Mies, Christopher Haase, Markus Winkelhock
#55 Strakka Racing Mercedes AMG GT GT3: Nick Leventis, Lewis Williamson, Cameron Waters, David Fumaneli
#17 Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3: Steven Kane, Guy Smith, Jules Gounon
Race action
#47 YNA Autosport McLaren 650S GT3: Scott McLaughlin, Fraser Ross, Andrew Watson, Alexander West
#43 BMW Team Schnitzer BMW M6 GT3: Chaz Mostert
#100 BMW Team SRM BMW M6 GT3: Steven Richards, Timo Glock, Philipp Eng
#43 BMW Team Schnitzer BMW M6 GT3: Augusto Farfus, Chaz Mostert, Marco Wittmann
#911 Manthey-Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R: Romain Dumas, Frederic Makowiecki, Dirk Werner
#911 Manthey-Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R: Romain Dumas, Frederic Makowiecki, Dirk Werner
#540 Black Swan Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R: Tim Pappas, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Luca Stolz, Marc Lieb

Frijns led the field during a final hour economy test, building to a tense showdown with Jamie Whincup and Earl Bamber.

However a huge crash between Audi driver Ash Walsh and Mercedes driver John Martin with 20 minutes to go led to the race ultimately being suspended, the clock ticking down to zero as crews were parked on the front straight waiting for a restart.

As a result the #37 WRT Audi was declared the winner, ahead of the #75 SunEnergy1 Mercedes (Whincup/Tristan Vautier/Kenny Habul/Raffiele Marciello).

The first of the key moments of the final quarter of the race came just half an hour in, when the scrap for third turned into a melee at Forrest's Elbow.

It started when Chaz Mostert (#43 Schnitzer BMW) got into the back of Estre in the #991 Craft-Bamboo Porsche on the way out of the dipper. Then, as the pair tried to squeeze past a Class B Porsche on the run onto Conrod, more contact led to Mostert wiping out Kane in the #17 Bentley, who was a few metres down the road.

Estre managed to sneak through largely unscathed, diving straight into the pits to hand over to Earl Bamber. Kane and Mostert also got back to the garage, but were left well and truly out of contention for victory, while the #42 Class B Porsche was left hanging out of the wall.

With the crashed Porsche cleaned up, the race restarted with 2h20m to go. David Fumaneli led the field in the #55 Strakka Mercedes, but ran wide and immediately handed it over to Markus Winkelhock in the #74 Audi.

In keeping with the theme of the day, the green running was short-lived. The 14th Safety Car period quickly followed when the #777 Buik Lamborghini lost a wheel, Fumaneli pitting and handing second over to Frijns.

The race restarted with two hours left to run, the two Audis bolting as Whincup held on in the Mercedes.

But just as that was shaping up to be the main battle pack, the game changed again. This time it was heartbreak for the leading Audi, Winklehock left stranded on The Mountain due to a drivetrain issue with a little over 90 minutes to go.

His race was over, and the resulting Safety Car saw Frijns, Whincup, and Bamber head to pits with a stint and a bit to go.

Frederic Makowiecki took over the lead when the race restarted with 80 minutes left to run, but needing to pit again. The likes of Frijns, Whincup, and Bamber, however, were close to being able to run to the end.

With 45 minutes left, Makowiecki made that stop, leaving Frijns out front. Fifteen minutes later it was still Frijns leading Whincup and Bamber, with the race having boiled down to a test of economy.

The final twist in the tale came with 20 minutes to go. Having clashed with a backmarker, Ash Walsh was left stranded across the track on the run to McPhillamy. He was then hit at full-speed by John Martin who arrived unsighted, causing the 16th Safety Car period of the day.

The caution eased fuel concerns, but even cruising around behind Safety Car the leading crews were worried. The intrigue deepened with 11 minutes to go when the red flag was flown, drivers advised to pull up on the grid and teams told not to work on the cars.

While the cars stopped, the clock kept ticking. In the end it ran out before the race could be restarted.

Behind the top two, the #540 Black Swan Racing Porsche (Marc Lieb/Luca Stolz/Jeroen Bleekemolen/Tim Pappas) won the Pro-Am class with third outright. Like the #12 Competition Porsche behind it, an outright victory could have been on the table had the race run its course.

The #991 and #911 entries capped off a remarkable day for Porsche with fifth and sixth respectively.

Walsh's Audi was declared the winner of the Am class despite the nasty crash.

In terms of the classes, it was the #4 Grove Motorsport Porsche that triumphed in Class B. Despite a pair of spins and a drive-through penalty, the Ben Barker/Stephen Grove/Brenton Grove had almost three laps up its sleeve by the end.

Class C went the way of the Boat Works BMW M4 GT4, Tony Longhurst/Aaron Seton/Matt Brabham over three laps clear of the M Motosport KTM driven by Glen Wood/Trent Harrison/Cody Hill.

The #91 MARC II completed a top-to-bottom domination of the Invitational class.

Bathurst 12 Hour Results

Cla#ClassDriver/CodriverCarLapsGap
1 37 PRO netherlands Robin Frijns 
belgium Dries Vanthoor 
united_kingdom Stuart Leonard 
italy Alessio Rovera 
Audi R8 LMS 271  
2 75 PRO italy Raffaele Marciello 
australia Kenny Habul 
france Tristan Vautier 
australia Jamie Whincup 
Mercedes AMG GT3 271 1.5369
3 540 PRO-AM germany Marc Lieb 
netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen 
united_states Tim Pappas 
germany Luca Stolz 
Porsche 911 GT3 R 271 30.6599
4 12 PRO-AM united_states Patrick Long 
australia David Calvert-Jones 
australia Alex Davison 
australia Matt Campbell 
Porsche 991 GT3R 271 32.0599
5 991 PRO new_zealand Earl Bamber 
france Kevin Estre 
belgium Laurens Vanthoor 
japan Hisashi Kunie 
japan Kimihiro Yashiro 
Porsche 911 GT3 R 271 57.5656
6 911 PRO france Romain Dumas 
new_zealand Earl Bamber 
germany Dirk Werner 
germany Alfred Renauer 
norway Dennis Olsen 
Porsche 911 271 1'20.2840
7 55 PRO-AM united_kingdom Nick Leventis 
united_kingdom Lewis Williamson 
italy David Fumanelli 
australia Cameron Waters 
Mercedes AMG GT GT3 271 1'29.9376
8 29 PRO-AM italy Ivan Capelli 
australia Ryan Millier 
australia Dean Canto 
australia Jim Manolios 
Lamborghini Hurracan 270 1 lap
9 100 PRO germany Timo Glock 
austria Philipp Eng 
new_zealand Steven Richards 
BMW M6 GT3 270 1 lap
10 69 AM australia Theo Koundouris 
australia Tim Slade 
australia Duvashen Padayachee
russia Stepan Krumilov 
australia James Koundouris 
Audi R8 LMS 269 2 laps
11 47 PRO-AM new_zealand Scott McLaughlin 
united_kingdom Andrew Watson 
australia Fraser Ross 
united_kingdom Alexander West 
McLaren 650s GT3 269 2 laps
12 8 PRO-AM new_zealand Craig Baird 
australia Tony D'Alberto 
australia Max Twigg 
germany Daniel Keilwitz 
Mercedes AMG GT3 268 3 laps
13 32 PRO-AM australia Roger Lago 
australia David Russell 
Steven Owen 
Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX 267 4 laps
14 39 PRO-AM portugal Pedro Lamy 
canada Paul Dalla Lana 
austria Mathias Lauda 
australia Will Davison 
Audi R8 LMS 267 4 laps
15 19 PRO-AM australia Mark Griffith 
australia Liam Talbot 
australia David Reynolds 
australia John Martin 
Mercedes GT 266 5 laps
16 17 PRO france Jules Gounon 
united_kingdom Steven Kane 
united_kingdom Guy Smith 
Bentley Continental GT3 265 6 laps
17 4 B united_kingdom Ben Barker 
australia Stephen Grove 
australia Brenton Grove 
Porsche GT3 Cup 260 11 laps
18 91 I papua_new_guinea Keith Kassulke 
australia Rod Salmon 
australia Will Brown 
MARC II V8 258 13 laps
19 85 B united_states Charles Espenlaub 
united_states Charles Putman 
united_kingdom Adam Christodoulou 
Joe Foster 
Porsche 911 GT3-Cup 257 14 laps
20 21 B australia Danny Stutterd 
new_zealand Sam Fillmore 
new_zealand Andrew Fawcet 
Porsche 911 256 15 laps
21 6 AM australia Hadrian Morrall 
australia Richard Gartner 
australia David Wall 
australia John Bowe 
Lamborghini Gallardo 256 15 laps
22 30 C australia Matt Brabham 
australia Aaron Seton 
australia Tony Longhurst 
BMW M4 250 21 laps
23 77 C australia Lindsay Kearns 
australia Colby Cowham 
netherlands Richard Verburg 
united_kingdom Charlie Robinson 
Ginetta G55 246 25 laps
24 49 C united_states Glen Wood 
australia Cody Hill 
australia Tent Harrison 
KTM X-Bow GT4 245 26 laps
25 93 I australia Grant Denyer 
australia Garry Jacobson 
australia Tyler Everingham 
MARC Mazda V8 244 27 laps
26 33   germany Frank Stippler 
germany Dimitri Parhofer 
france Rémi Terrail 
germany Dirg Parhofer 
spain Isaac Tutumlu Lopez 
MARC Mazda V8 243 28 laps
27 22 PRO australia Garth Tander 
south_africa Kelvin van der Linde 
belgium Fredrick Vervisch 
Audi R8 LMS 241 30 laps
28 56 PRO portugal Alvaro Parente 
germany Maximillian Buhk 
germany Maximillian Goetz 
Mercedes AMG GT GT3 237 34 laps
29 13 C united_states Cameron Lawrence 
canada Kuno Wittmer 
united_states Daren Jorgensen 
united_states Brett Strom 
BMW M4 GT4 188 83 laps
30 44 C australia Dean Grant 
australia Xavier West 
australia Cameron Hill 
BMW M4 GT4 162 109 laps
31 66 I spain Alex Riberas 
germany Edward Lewis Brauner
australia Ben Schoots 
australia Adam Macrow 
australia Michael Caine 
Dodge Viper 162 109 laps
32 65 I australia Jamie Augustine 
australia Rhys Howell 
australia Dylan Thomas 
Daytona Coupe 145 126 laps
  11 PRO-AM australia Tony Walls 
australia Warren Luff 
australia Tim Slade 
australia Jaxon Evans 
McLaren 650s 260 11 laps
  95 I australia Bryce Fullwood 
united_kingdom Jules Westwood 
australia Geoff Taunton 
australia Jason Busk 
MARC Focus V8 244 27 laps
  74 PRO germany Markus Winkelhock 
germany Christopher Haase 
germany Christopher Mies 
Audi R8 LMS 238 33 laps
  777 PRO-AM czech_republic Tomas Enge 
germany Christopher Mies 
australia Luke Youlden 
australia Yasser Shahin 
Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 REX 219 52 laps
  43 PRO brazil Augusto Farfus 
germany Marco Wittmann 
australia Chaz Mostert 
BMW M6 GT3 217 54 laps
  40 B australia Aaron Zerefos 
australia Garry Mennell 
austria Kean Booker 
australia Mark Caine 
Porsche 997 GT3 Cup 193 78 laps
  88 C united_kingdom Mike Simpson 
france Daniel Desbrueres 
australia Jaie Robson 
australia Ben Walsh 
Ginetta G55 133 138 laps
  54 I australia Kenny Habul 
australia Kyle Alford 
australia Chad Parish 
MARC II V8 123 148 laps
  58 PRO new_zealand Shane van Gisbergen 
france Côme Ledogar 
australia Craig Lowndes 
belgium Jose Close 
germany Wolfgang Haugg 
McLaren 650s GT3 119 152 laps
  67 I australia Jake Camilleri 
australia Morgan Haber 
italy Claudio Cappelli 
australia Aaron Cameron 
MARC II V8 87 184 laps
  46 C germany Jörg Viebahn 
belgium Nico Verdonck 
netherlands Max Braams 
new_zealand Marco Schelp 
Porsche Cayman PRO4 84 187 laps
  23 B Paul Tresidder 
new_zealand Chris van der Drift 
singapore Andrew Tang 
taiwan Chen Yi-Fan 
Porsche 991 82 189 laps
  3 AM australia Ash Samadi 
new_zealand Daniel Gaunt 
germany Manuel Metzger 
australia Dylan O'Keeffe 
Audi R8 LMS 66 205 laps
  18 PRO spain Andy Soucek 
belgium Maxime Soulet 
france Vincent Abril 
netherlands Rick Abresch 
united_kingdom Finlay Hutchison 
Bentley Continental GT3 58 213 laps
  82 PRO-AM russia Roman Rusinov 
Andrew Bagnall 
new_zealand Matthew Halliday 
new_zealand Johnny Reid 
Audi R8 LMS 41 230 laps
  9 PRO-AM australia Marc Cini 
australia Dean Fiore 
australia Lee Holdsworth 
switzerland Ricardo Feller 
germany Christer Jöns 
Audi R8 LMS 41 230 laps
  48 C australia Justin McMillan 
australia Caitlin Wood 
australia David Crampton 
australia Timothy Macrow 
KTM X-Bow GT4 31 240 laps
  96 I australia Peter Major 
australia Jordan Love 
australia John Goodacre 
MARC Focus V8 0  
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