Bathurst: Orrcon Racing race report

Top Five For Orrcon Racing at Bathurst Orrcon Racing was one of the key pieces in the 2004 Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 jigsaw puzzle at Bathurst today with both Orrcon Racing Falcons in the thick of the action on the Mount Panorama circuit. After...

Top Five For Orrcon Racing at Bathurst

Orrcon Racing was one of the key pieces in the 2004 Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 jigsaw puzzle at Bathurst today with both Orrcon Racing Falcons in the thick of the action on the Mount Panorama circuit.

After starting the 161-lap race from tenth position Jason Bargwanna picked up several positions to hold down a position just outside the top five in the opening laps.

While Bargwanna was on the charge at the front of the pack team owner Mark Larkham used a conservative approach to the 161-lap journey slowly working his way towards the front.

During the first of seven safety car periods for the race Bargwanna was in fourth position before handing the driving duties over to Mark Winterbottom, likewise Matt Halliday relieved Larkham of the driving duties in the Number 20 Orrcon Racing Falcon for his stint in Australia's premiere motorsport race.

In a race that included plenty of excitement including a roll over and a stray kangaroo Winterbottom charged towards the front to be running as high as third with just over 50-laps remaining.

On lap 134 Winterbottom was looking to elevate himself into fourth position by passing Garth Tander at the end of Mountain Straight. Unfortunately the pair made contact when Winterbottom was sent sideways under brakes after dropping a wheel on the grass.

The contact caused damage to the right rear of Winterbottom's car forcing him to pit, losing four positions in the process.

"I looked inside and then outside on Mountain Straight to pass Garth (Tander) when he moved over a bit I did so also and got a wheel on the grass under brakes which sent me sideways and into him," said Winterbottom.

"Luckily the damage to our car wasn't too bad but we lost a few spots which is disappointing but it could have been a lot worse, unfortunately it was for Garth it ended his race."

In the final pit stop Bargwanna returned to the driver's seat for the final 27-lap sprint to the finish. Larkham also handed the driving duties Halliday for the final stint.

Bargwanna returned to the circuit in seventh and his best result of the Championship this year in his sights charging down Steven Johnson for sixth.

The former Bathurst Champion made the successful pass for sixth at the fastest point on a racetrack in Australia, Caltex Chase with eight laps remaining.

With three laps remaining Bargwanna made closed in to pass Russell Ingall for fifth position and there had just over three seconds separating him and fourth placed Marcos Ambrose.

Bargwanna continued his determined drive to cross the line fifth, within a second of Ambrose, his fifth place is Bargwanna's best result at Mount Panorama since his victory in 2000.

"Today was a great team effort I take my hat off to the guys, they have worked their butt off all year and especially this weekend," said Bargwanna.

"I looked up over the last few laps at the tower on pit straight to try and see where I was placed, I thought I was in fourth so simply put my head and pushed to the limit trying to reach the podium.

"Today's race would have to be the fastest and toughest Bathurst I have been a part of, the pace was unbelievable out there."

Bargwanna's Orrcon Racing team mate, Winterbottom echoed his thoughts "We were definitely we were good enough to finish on the podium, but we have shown that we have what it takes to be a serious contender around here and for the rest of this years Championship."

Despite enduring heavy steering problems over the final 15-laps Halliday completed an exceptional job to be knocking on the door of a top ten finish and crossing the line 11th in his first attempt at the 1000km journey. The result by the Number 20 Orrcon Racing Falcon was Larkham's 11th place was his best result since his fourth place finish in 1998

"There is nothing like this race in the world, the track, the cars, the atmosphere is unique. I can't wait to be back here," said Halliday.

Larkham was delighted with the effort put in by the team and all three other drivers in the endurance line up.

"I am very proud of the team with a good result. It was very tough out there," said Larkham.

"For Bargs and Frosty (Jason Bargwanna and Mark Larkham) to be so close to the front is extremely pleasing as a team owner, the effort put in by Matt (Halliday) alongside me as a support role was exceptional. It is a huge achievement to just finish your first Bathurst but to be a top ten contender is a great result"

Greg Murphy and Rick Kelly won their second successive Bathurst crown ahead of Craig Lowndes and Glenn Seton with John Bowe and Brad Jones finishing third.

While Ambrose continues to lead the Championship on 1667 ahead of Jason Bright on 1612 Bargwanna's fifth asserted his position inside the top ten in the Championship points on 1138 and Winterbottom moved up seven spots to be in 16th.

The next round of the Championship will be held on the streets of Surfers Paradise at the Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge as a part of the Lexmark Indy 300 on October 21-24.

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Series Supercars
Drivers Steven Johnson , Garth Tander , Jason Bright , Greg Murphy , Russell Ingall , Rick Kelly , Brad Jones , Mark Larkham , Craig Lowndes , Jason Bargwanna , John Bowe , Glenn Seton , Mark Winterbottom , Bob Jane , Matt Halliday