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Supercars Bathurst

The unseen internal Bathurst tension for Triple Eight

There was tension in the Triple Eight garages at times during the Bathurst 1000 as it managed two cars in contention for victory.

Shane van Gisbergen, Richie Stanaway, Triple Eight Race Engineering Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Triple Eight went into the race with both of its primary entries near the pointy end of the field, good on one hand, but dangerous on the other due to fears over double stacking.

The issue was compounded when both cars made excellent starts, Jamie Whincup taking the lead in the #88 while Richie Stanaway moved the #97 into fourth position in the early stages of the race.

It was later revealed that, based on the long fill times of the car and anxiety about double stacking, running so close created a hidden battle in the garage as each crew tried to shore up track position.

The tense battle was ultimately won by the #97 side of the garage, based initially on some good luck. Having pitted early to avoid any risk of a double stack, Whincup undercut Stanaway when the first safety car came out and the #88 stopped.

A second safety car a handful of laps later led to T8 pitting both cars, forcing the #88 to double stack, as was the case during the third and final stop.

A broken gearshift tower would later rule the #88 out of contention, however race winner Shane van Gisbergen admitted there was a weird energy in the garage early in the race.

"The stacking risk here is killer," he said. "We had to get in front of #88. It wasn't a really nice atmosphere at the start of the race, working out strategies to try and get in front of your teammates so you don't have the stack.

"But that's the fill time of this car..."

The responsibility of managing the two factions fell to team manager Mark Dutton, something he admitted was difficult to deal with.

"That is super difficult," he said.

"So the first stop was not an intentional undercut. [The] #97 did the right thing and stopped to get out of queuing risk. Obviously the amount of fuel you can put in at that time is different to the amount of fuel you can put in when you stop a bit later.

"The Safety Car then came at a most inopportune time, and you have to make a decision, what do you do then.

"#97 is in the lead with less fuel than #88. So #88 is the current adjusted race leader, so the choice to make is – send #97 past and keep #88 in P1, then you have one car in P1 and one car in P-last.

"Or you do what we did and have one car in P2 and the other in P15, but with a few cars in there that are on different fuel strategies and you’re going to pass them.

"That tough decision falls on my shoulders.

"Yeah, you have some people not happy with you during the race, but we’re all professionals and we all understand that we’re all part of one big team and clearly, deciding to put one of your cars to last is something that isn’t ideal, so we didn’t do that.

"It’s tough doing those ones, I must admit."

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