James Moffat says he was left confused by the pair of crashes that wiped him out of the Bathurst 1000 while in contention for a podium.
A clean race through difficult conditions had put Moffat and co-driver Richard Muscat right in the heat of the battle in the closing stages of last Sunday’s wild Bathurst race, the Garry Rogers Motorsport driver running third as the race neared its final 20 laps.
However, his chances of a podium disappeared on Lap 138 when he sailed through the gravel and into the tyre wall at McPhillamy Park while running behind Shane van Gisbergen and Chaz Mostert.
He got going again, but his race was over for good several laps later when his wounded Commodore went into the wall at Sulman Park.
That was the beginning of GRM’s woes, which were capped off when Garth Tander slid off the road from second place during the crazy Lap 145 restart that ultimately shaped the final results.
Looking back at his initial crash, Moffat says he’s confused as to exactly what happened.
“It was going well, we were in a good position,” he told Motorsport.com.
“And then I made a mistake into McPhillamy and dropped it off the road there.
“I’m a bit confused by it, I don’t feel like I didn’t anything differently to the lap before. And I feel like I was on the same line as Chaz in front of me.
“Then the second one, it just got away from me.”
Moffat added that he didn’t think the second crash was related to the first.
“I’m not going to blame that. The guys said the car looked alright, and yeah, the second one was a pretty big hit.
“I’m gutted for everyone in the team. The car was mega in the wet, and I was having a blast out there. We got to where we were on speed in the wet conditions, and to have both cars up there in the fight at the point of the race where you want to be there, and then what happened with Garth as well, I just feel gutted for everyone in the team.
“There’s heavy damage to our car. It’s disappointing, I don’t normally do stuff like that. It’ll take a while to get over this one.
“It’s Bathurst; you put it all on the line to do it.”
The silver lining for GRM was that it had two cars in genuine contention for a result, especially given a switch back to the 2016-spec tyre for Bathurst meant the car was flying blind with its new Commodore package in the wake of Volvo’s departure from the sport last year.
“That was the really pleasing thing for us,” added Moffat.
“We came into the weekend not knowing how we’d be on this spec tyre with the Commodore package, and the speed was good from both cars.
“It just shows you the work the guys are doing back at the workshop and behind the scenes is paying off for us.
“I just hate it for them that we’ve got damaged cars for them to fix. Particularly our one, which is pretty sad. I think it would be a minor miracle if that one sees the Gold Coast.”