Podium three-peat for SBR at Mount Panorama Stone Brothers Racing achieved its third Bathurst 1000 podium in three years at Sunday's Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, the JELD-WEN Motorsport duo of James Courtney and David Besnard fighting back to...
Podium three-peat for SBR at Mount Panorama
Stone Brothers Racing achieved its third Bathurst 1000 podium in three years at Sunday's Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, the JELD-WEN Motorsport duo of James Courtney and David Besnard fighting back to claim third place in an amazing race.
The JELD-WEN Motorsport team's race looked all but over in the middle stages when the SBR crew suspected a broken rear roll bar in the BF Falcon but their never-say-die attitude kept the number-four car in the race to grab a fantastic result.
Starting from third, Courtney avoided a stationary Garth Tander on the front row of the grid and moved quickly through the front runners to lead the race by lap four.
The JELD-WEN Motorsport Falcon showed great turn of speed and pulled away from the field giving Besnard a handy lead when Courtney pitted on lap 28.
Only a couple of laps into Bernard's stint, the JELD-WEN Motorsport Falcon turned into a handful, sending the JELD-WEN co-driver quickly down the order to be in 16th place as the race reached 50 laps.
Besnard bought the JELD-WEN Motorsport Falcon into the pits on lap 55 with a shredded left front tyre and a suspected broken rear roll bar. A quick check of the rear revealed nothing and after a full stop and some adjustments to assist with balance, Courtney rejoined the race.
An inspection of the offending tyre revealed a slow leak as the cause of the handling problems in the JELD-WEN Falcon and while the number four car was still a handful, Courtney was able to continue on.
The race improved from there for Courtney and Besnard, with another two regular stops on laps 76 and 106 and the JELD-WEN Falcon reclaimed the lead on lap 129.
However, there was still another challenge to overcome, with the JELD-WEN Motorsport Falcon out of sync with the rest of the field and still to make its final fuel stop.
Courtney stopped on lap 137 and remained in the car but relinquished the lead dropping to 13th position.
The JELD-WEN Motorsport driver turned it on in the final 25 laps of the race, producing a gritty charge through the field to pass Steven Richards on lap 160 to claim third place.
On the other side of the garage, the SP Tools Racing Falcon were looking strong early in the annual 1000km race, Shane van Gisbergen working his way up to the top ten before his pit stop on lap 20.
Co-driver Jonathon Webb continued with good pace and was in sixth position when he made a good call on a delaminating front tyre, bringing the SP Tools Racing Falcon in just in time on lap 46 for the second stop.
A driver change put van Gisbergen back in the car, the 19-year-old completing only 22 laps before suffering the same fate as his team-mate, a delaminating front tyre. It forced another driver change with Webb continuing in the SP Tools Racing Falcon.
Webb worked his way into 11th position and when the safety car was deployed on lap 90 the SBR crew took the opportunity to stop for fuel, tyres and pads.
The SP Tools Racing Falcon exited after the restart on lap 92, rejoining the race for only half a lap when cold tyres and full tanks caught Webb out, the SP Tools Racing driver hitting the wall at turn nine.
The number-nine car suffered broken steering and despite his best efforts to get the car back to the pits, Webb was forced to park at the top of the mountain.
Courtney's result at this year's Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 puts him in seventh place in the V8 Supercar Championship Series standings with van Gisbergen in 15th place.
The JELD-WEN Motorsport and SP Tools Racing teams will now focus their attention on round 11 of the V8 Supercar Championship Series, the Lexmark Indy 300 at the Surfers Paradise Street Circuit from 23-26 October 2008.
James Courtney, #4, JELD-WEN Motorsport
"I would have to say that I am a little surprised to be on the podium. I thought the day was done when we thought we had broken the rear roll bar.
"But we were able to come back and it's a credit to the team and to David that they never gave up.
"I was pretty determined in that last stint; I double stinted and I was taking no prisoners.
"I pushed like crazy to get up there and used up a lot of the brakes and tyres coming through. When I saw that Richo (Steven Richards) was having problems I jumped at the opportunity to pass.
"It's a great achievement for SBR and myself to be on the podium three years in a row and David two in a row. I can't thank David and the boys on the team enough."
David Besnard, #4, JELD-WEN Motorsport
"I'm really satisfied to be on the podium but I guess in some ways James and I are also a little disappointed.
"This was probably our biggest chance for a win, the JELD-WEN Falcon was great but by the same hand, with the dramas we had early in the race, a podium result is fantastic.
"This would have to be the hardest Bathurst I've done and the bloke beside me (James) drove amazingly.
"And for SBR to have the faith in both of us and for them to stick with me this year, its great to bring home another podium."
Shane van Gisbergen, #9, SP Tools Racing
"We were running pretty strongly today so it was a real shame not to finish the race.
"We struggled a little in my first stint but the SP Tools Racing Falcon was coming good in the second stint and Jonathon (Webb) was doing a really good job.
"The SP Tools Racing team was looking good on strategy so Jonathon and I are pretty gutted with the result."
Jonathon Webb, #9, SP Tools Racing
"The SP Tools Racing Falcon was running very well today.
"In the first stint Shane was showing good speed and we were both comfortable with the pace of the race, just keeping an eye on tyres and keeping it straight.
"Turning into the grate at turn nine the car seemed to understeer and I missed the apex and ran out of road on the exit.
"We broke the steering and I tried to get it back to the pits but it had done just enough damage to put an end to our race."