HOUR ONE UPDATE Sunny but cool conditions greeted the 39 cars on the starting grid for the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 with practice, qualifying and top 10 shootout pacesetter Greg Murphy (K-Mart Racing) starting from pole position. He was joined on...
HOUR ONE UPDATE
Sunny but cool conditions greeted the 39 cars on the starting grid for the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 with practice, qualifying and top 10 shootout pacesetter Greg Murphy (K-Mart Racing) starting from pole position. He was joined on the front row of the grid by Brad Jones (OzEmail Racing). The only surprise with the starting drivers was Russell Ingall taking the green flag in place of Marcos Ambrose in the Pirtek Caltex Havoline Racing #4 Falcon.
Bob and Rodney Jane announced 'Gentlemen start your engines' at 9.58am. The green flag was waved at 10.05am.
Murphy made a blistering start to lead into the first corner -- Shell Corner, with Jim Richards (Holden Racing Team #2) making a charge into second place.
The second K-Mart Racing Commodore driven by Cameron McLean was the first casualty going off at the first corner and hitting the wall, after contact with Steve Owen (Smiths Trucks/Lubrimax #13). The Owen/Scifleet Commodore was the first car to pit with fire emerging from the front left tyre after the incident.
In an incident packed first few laps Mark Winterbottom (Caltex Havoline Racing #9) swiped the wall at VIP Petfoods Corner on lap two but continued in the race. Jones turned the car on lap three at OzEmail Elbow and dropped significant places through the field.
Mark Skaife (Holden Racing Team #1) overtook Murphy on lap 5 to claim the race lead.
The Sirromet Wines Racing #29 Commodore driven Paul Morris was taken into the pit garage on lap four and did not return with a broken drive line.
Steven Richards brought the Castrol Perkins Racing #11 Commodore into pit lane for a standard stop on lap 9 as part of a different strategy to the other teams.
On lap 12 the safety car entered the track for the first time. Simon Wills (Team Dynamik #44) had a tangle with David Besnard's #19 Ford Performance Racing Falcon at VIP Petfoods Corner and shortly afterwards both cars pitted. The FPR #19 car had a broken steering arm and lost numerous laps to the field.
Jason Bright (Team Brock #50), Dean Canto (Team Betta Electrical #66), Skaife, Ingall and Jim Richards all pitted under the yellow flag.
Skaife was called in by his team to pit on lap 16 with damage to the front right of the car.
A four car pile up involving David Brabham (Shell Helix Racing #18), Jason Bargwanna (Orrcon Racing #10), Rick Bates (INXS Team Ford) and Nathan Pretty (Garry Rogers Motorsport #33) at the Coates Hire Esses brought out the yellow flag again on lap 17.
The raced resumed under green on lap 19 with Murphy leading from Garth Tander (Garry Rogers Motorsport #34) with Craig Lowndes (Ford Performance Racing #6) in third.
Bargwanna was given a black flag drive-through penalty for the incident.
HOUR TWO UPDATE
Mark Skaife (Holden Racing Team #1) put in the fastest lap of the race with 2:09.5611 on lap 25 and then improved to 2:09.4411 on lap 29.
Craig Lowndes (Ford Performance Racing #6) overtook Garth Tander (Garry Rogers Motorsport #34) for second place on lap 27 with a gap of close to five seconds between he and Greg Murphy (K-Mart Racing #51) in the race lead.
Steve Ellery (Super Cheap Auto Racing #31) was a quite achiever early on moving from 11th on the grid to four place after 28 laps.
Tander went off course on pit lane entry on lap 30 but made it through for a tyre change and handed over to Jamie Whincup.
Brad Jones (OzEmail Racing #21) came in for a driver change (to John Bowe) on lap 33 as did Ellery (to Luke Youlden).
The race-leader Murphy made his first pit stop on lap 34 and stepped out of the car for Rick Kelly. Lowndes inherited the lead and put in a new fastest lap of 2:09.4254 on lap 36 before pitting on lap 37 and giving the car to Glenn Seton.
On lap 40 after a quarter of the race, Jim Richards (Holden Racing Team #2) led son Steven (Castrol Perkins Racing #11) by two seconds with Russell Ingall (Pirtek Caltex Havoline Racing #4) less than a second back in third.
Ingall then came in on lap 43 to give Marcos Ambrose his first drive of the day.
Nathan Pretty (Castrol Perkins Racing #33) hit the tyre wheel at Holden Skyline on lap 44 with Paul Weel (Team Brock #50) then ploughing straight into him badly damaging both cars. This accident brought out the third yellow flag of the day. Both cars retired from the race. Pretty was taken to hospital with concussion and whip lash.
A new front spoiler was added to the Super Cheap Auto Falcon with Youlden at the wheel while the race was under yellow.
HOUR THREE UPDATE
In the space of three corners, Rick Kelly (K-Mart Racing #51) moved from third into the lead on lap 49.
Then Marcos Ambrose (Pirtek Caltex Havoline Racing #4) tried a daring overtake move on lap 53 at Shell Corner to go from fourth into second, but was kept at bay by Larry Perkins (Castrol Perkins Racing #11) and then had Tony Longhurst (Holden Racing Team #2) re-pass him after a nudge at Konica Bend.
Rick Kelly put a gap on the field while Ambrose, Perkins, Longhurst, Todd Kelly (HRT #1) and John Bowe (OzEmail Racing #21) scrapped for position. By lap 56, Rick Kelly led Ambrose by 15 seconds with brother Todd Kelly in third.
Less than seven seconds separated Ambrose in second and Andrew Jones (OzEmail Racing #888) in 13th position in a good old-fashioned dog fight.
Max Wilson (Shell Helix Racing #18) spun sideways on lap 59 in Bob Jane T-Marts Pit Straight but recovered and resumed in 26th position.
Perkins lost control at Shell Corner on lap 62 but managed to recover in 14th position -- a loss of 12 positions in 10 laps.
Jamie Whincup (Garry Rogers Motorsport #34) and Luke Youlden (Super Cheap Auto Racing #31) both had spins in this period to lose valuable time.
Darren Hossack (Ford Performance Racing #5) had a big shunt into the wall at the VB Dipper on lap 65 to bring out the day's fourth yellow flag.
This brought the field together once again with a number of teams taking the opportunity to come in for fuel and tyres including the race leader Rick Kelly. He handed the car back to Greg Murphy, and the lead over to Ambrose for the first time today. Murphy came back into the field in 9th.
The race restarted on lap 68. The first incident back under green was Jan Magnussen (Team Dynamik #45) spinning off into the sand at Shell Corner.
HOUR FOUR UPDATE
The fifth safety car of the day came out on lap 75 when Tony Ricciardello (Holden Young Lions #46) slammed into the wall around Holden Skyline.
Race leader Marcos Ambrose (Pirtek Caltex Havoline Racing #4) took the opportunity to pit under the yellow flag and stepped out for Russell Ingall, while Todd Kelly brought the Holden Racing Team #1 Commodore in and gave the drive back over to Mark Skaife.
Ingall rejoined the race in 11th and Skaife 13th, while Brad Jones (OzEmail Racing #21) took over the race lead. This didn't last long as he pitted the OzEmail Racing Falcon for some mechanical repairs.
The new leader became Greg Murphy (K-Mart Racing #51) from Steve Ellery (Super Cheap Auto Racing #31) and Konica V8 Supercar champion Mark Winterbottom (Caltex Havoline Racing #9).
Steve Johnson's Shell Helix Racing #17 Falcon stopped at Ford Cutting on lap 84 and was pushed off the circuit, but managed to rejoin the pursuit.
A number of mini tussles followed with Ellery, Winterbottom and Greg Ritter (Team Brock #16) fighting for second, and Larry Perkins (Castrol Perkins Racing #11), Ingall, Skaife, Dean Canto (Team Betta Electrical #66) and Craig Lowndes (Ford Performance Racing #6) all involved in a dog-fight for as high as eighth.
HOUR FIVE UPDATE
Paul Dumbrell pitted the Castrol Perkins Racing #8 Commodore on lap 92 after an off track excursion.
Mark Skaife (Holden Racing Team #1) made a move into 6th position followed closely by Russell Ingall (Pirtek Caltex Havoline Racing #4) and Dean Canto (Team Betta Electrical #6) as they pursued race leader Greg Murphy (K-Mart Racing #51).
Although languishing in 26th position, Garth Tander (Garry Rogers Motorsport #34) set a new race lap record of 2:09.2531 on their lap 81.
Second placegetter Steve Ellery (Super Cheap Auto Racing #31) came in for a driver change on lap 99 handing over to Luke Youlden, followed by third placegetter Mark Winterbottom (Caltex Havoline Racing #9) giving the seat to Mark Noske.
On lap 100, Skaife clocked a new race lap record of 2:09.1076. At this stage of the race, 13 cars were on the lead lap.
After 102 laps, Murphy came into pit lane for a driver-change (to Rick Kelly) and compulsory pad change.
The Caltex Havoline Racing #9 Falcon was brought into the pits for the third time in four laps with smoke billowing from the rear tyres and taken into the team garage.
Skaife started to take charge during this stint with another lap record of 2:09.0921 while leading from Ingall and Craig Lowndes (Ford Performance Racing #6).
Jim Richards (HRT #2) pitted on lap 105 and then Skaife brought the HRT #1 Commodore in on the next lap shadowed by Ingall. Todd Kelly (HRT #1) and Marcos Ambrose (Pirtek Caltex Havoline Racing #4) emerged in the cars, giving the lead over to Lowndes.
On lap 108, Lowndes pitted for a change with Glenn Seton and then Brad Jones (OzEmail Racing #21) swapped with John Bowe.
Rick Kelly hit the lead from brother Todd, and then Youlden, Seton, Ambrose and Marcus Marshall (Team Brock #16).
After five hours of racing and 120 laps, Rick Kelly had a 10 second gap over Todd Kelly with another 14 seconds back to Youlden and a further 14 seconds to Seton.
Ambrose came in for a tyre change on lap 119 which cost the team valuable time in the pursuit of the race leaders.
HOUR SIX UPDATE
Rick Kelly (K-Mart Racing #51) managed to keep an eight-second lead over Todd Kelly (Holden Racing Team #1) after 125 laps, and built a considerable 25-second gap back to Luke Youlden (Super Cheap Auto Racing #31) in third..
Youlden pitted on lap 130 and handed the car back to Steve Ellery for the final stint. Glenn Seton (Ford Performance Racing #6) moved into third before coming in for the team's final driver and tyre change on lap 132.
Greg Murphy jumped back into the seat of the K-Mart Racing #51 Commodore on lap 132. On the next lap the car in pursuit, the HRT #1 Commodore, did the same with Mark Skaife replacing Todd Kelly on his chase of a third straight Bathurst win.
Steve Richards (Castrol Perkins Racing #11) made a fuel stop on lap 134 in a final flurry of pit lane action.
After 135 laps, Murphy led Skaife by 10 seconds with a short margin to John Bowe (OzEmail Racing #21) in third position and a large 33 second gap to Ambrose.
The back left door on Skaife's Commodore opened and closed on right-hander corners from lap 137.
Series leader Ambrose pitted for a final time on lap 138 for fuel and tyres which put a dent in any chance of victory in this year's race.
Murphy continued to lead Skaife by the better part of 10 seconds after 140 laps. Bowe maintained third position a further four seconds back with Lowndes taking over fourth but 35 seconds in arrears of Bowe.
When Bowe pitted on lap 143, Lowndes and Ellery passed him but were still well behind the leading two Commodores.
Steve Richards (Castrol Perkins Racing #11) attempted to overtake John Bowe (OzEmail Racing #21) on lap 150 with both cars touching and Bowe spinning into the sand at Shell Corner.
The sixth safety car period for the race emerged after the incident closing the gap between all nine cars on the lead lap. This would create a mad dash for the checkered flag over the final 11 laps.
Greg Murphy (K-Mart Racing #51) led Mark Skaife (Holden Racing Team #1), Craig Lowndes (Ford Performance Racing #6), Steve Ellery (Super Cheap Auto Racing #31), Steve Richards, father Jim Richards (HRT #2), Greg Ritter (Team Brock #16), Marcos Ambrose (Pirtek Caltex Havoline Racing #4) and Paul Radisich (Team Betta Electrical #65) with 20 seconds separating the top nine cars under yellow.
The race resumed on lap 153, and then Skaife was given a black flag (drive through penalty) for his loose rear door at the end of that lap.
Murphy pulled a seven-second margin over Lowndes with Ellery just holding onto third position over Steven Richards.
Jim Richards nudged son Steven on lap 160 while trying to get past into fourth but Steven kept him at bay.
Ritter had to pit on lap 159, only two laps from the finish, with frontal damage after a great run to that point.
After an amazing weekend, Greg Murphy took the checkered flag to claim his third Bathurst win and co-driver Rick Kelly's first. The K-Mart Racing #51 Commodore topped the timesheets over all four days of the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000.