Bathurst: TBE race report

Drivers Devistated as Wheels Fall Off A Potential Podium Finish Team Betta Electrical entered today's Bathurst 1000 km race high with expectation, unfortunately early impressive high performance from both cars did not convert through to the...

Drivers Devistated as Wheels Fall Off A Potential Podium Finish

Team Betta Electrical entered today's Bathurst 1000 km race high with expectation, unfortunately early impressive high performance from both cars did not convert through to the fall of the flag.

An engine miss developed in car #888 of Canto and Muller in this morning's early warm-up session with the team choosing to replace the engine for the race, requiring the car to start from the rear of the field.

Paul Radisich in car #88 started the race in 17th position on the grid gaining nine places over the first three laps.

Ambrose in the Pirtek Falcon took an early lead followed closely by John Bowe in the Oze mail Falcon, with the pace being fast and furious right from the green light.

Dean Canto dialed his car #888 in early and drove the race of his life, clean, precise and consistent.

Lap 16 saw Canto work his way from the rear of the grid up to 16th position by lap 14 and continued to charge through the field until lap17 when team -mate Ivan Muller took over the controls.

Several safety car situations occurred during the early stages of the race, allowing some teams a pit stop, whilst the balance of the field bunched up behind the safety car.

Lap 39 saw Radisich pit for his driver change and mandatory tyre change and refueling whist holding down 6th position.

Wilson then took over and proceeded to push the car up into 4th spot.

The safety car re-appeared onto the circuit on lap 51 after an accident involving Alan Gurr in the Siromet Wines Coomodore, putting him out of the race.

Wilson soon found himself leading the field by lap 85, only to be called into the pits three laps later for another pit stop and driver change.

Radisich took control yet again, returning to the field in 10th position, again with the job ahead of him to catch the field and regain their impressive position.

Meanwhile Muller in car #888 was holding down 15th spot after being given a drive through penalty for cutting the corner on pit exit.

Lap 101 saw Muller beach his Ford into a sand trap, requiring the safety car to again enter the circuit and allow the Triple Eight car to be retrieved, effectively putting him down a lap on the field.

Dean Canto again entered the car to continue his impressive charge through the field.

Lap 111 saw Jim Richards in the Perkins Commodore collide with a kangaroo approaching Skyline and badly damaging the car.

The quiet achiever, Radisich soon found himself back at the pointy end of the field in 3rd position by lap 114 and pushing hard with consistent lap times in the 2:9sec bracket.

By lap 129 Canto had forced his way back into 9th spot and still charging hard, passing all competitors in sight.

Disaster struck Radisich on lap 117 of the 161-lap race, when the front suspension strut broke on the 88-car whist attacking the mountain climb.

Meanwhile Canto pushed on to try and re-coup a result for the team, only to experience a similar familiar failure on his car when the rear suspension let go, forcing him to limp back into the pits for much needed repairs.

Canto returned to the circuit after a lengthy delay, finally bring the car home in 22nd position.

A devastated Radisich could not believe the car had robbed him yet again of a potential podium finish.

"We seemed to be plagued with these failures, I thought we had rectified the suspension weaknesses, but obviously not" - said Radisich.

"The entire team appeared confident coming into this round, all considering we had overcome these weaknesses, but obviously we haven't, so I guess it's back to the drawing board yet again" - he said.

"I just can't believe it said Wilson, we drive our hearts out to reach the front of the field only to find the cars can't endure the pace, it really does disappoint the entire team, not just Paul and I" - said Wilson.

"Both Paul and I had planned an all out assault on the Mountain this weekend, we have been training for this event for months, we both gave it our very best and look what we have been rewarded with, it really is very disappointing for both of us" -commented Wilson.

Dean Canto was equally disappointed with the suspension failure on his 888 car whilst holding down 11th position and still building.

"It's no good saying there is always next year, it's here and now for me, I wanted so much to get a good result in this race today and I think I drove the best race of my career, only to be let down by a suspension failure, the disappointment of mechanical failure in such an important race event is very hard to accept" - said Canto.

Final results in the 2004 Bob Jane T-Marts Bathurst going to Greg Murphy in the K-Mart Commodore 1st. Craig Lowndes in the Ford Performance Racing Falcon 2nd. with John Bowe in the Oze Mail Ford Falcon coming home in 3rd. position.

-tbe-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Greg Murphy , Jim Richards , Dean Canto , Craig Lowndes , Paul Radisich , John Bowe , Bob Jane , Alan Gurr