All-time upset: The Tassie win from 29th on the grid

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 15/04/2021
  • By James Pavey, Pic by AN1 Images

Few Tasmania results have been as unprecedented as David Besnard's Tasmania victory in 2004.

Besnard started the 2004 Symmons Plains finale from the 15th row of the grid, having qualified 25th and finished the first two races in eighth and 29th.

The race will be premiered on Supercars’ SuperArchive YouTube channel on Thursday at 6:30pm AEST.

It was a victory very few saw coming, and one which was only confirmed a few days later following a confusing sequence of events mid-race.

The weekend itself had already seen much drama, such as the Race 1 bingle between long-time rivals Mark Skaife and Russell Ingall.

Marcos Ambrose, who will join the broadcast team as a special guest at this weekend’s Beaurepaires Tasmania SuperSprint, won Race 2, with Rick Kelly clinching the Saturday win.


A weekend of championship tension, inclement weather and incidents culminated in Race 3, with Besnard in the history books as the official winner.

It was his first win since the 2001 Queensland 500, with Besnard going on to clinch Bathurst 1000 podiums alongside James Courtney in 2007 and 2008.

Having started 29th for the 2004 Tasmania finale, Besnard had it all to do in the 42-lap race.

A brilliant charge was halted when a Safety Car was deployed towards the end of the compulsory pitstop cycle.

Greg Murphy, who was first of those to pit, was picked up as the leader.

Besnard, Jason Bright, Anthony Tratt and Mark Skaife pitted and rejoined still in the top four positions, with the order reshuffled behind the Safety Car.

The WPS Falcon headed the queue, but during a second Safety Car period, officials intervened in the belief that Murphy was the true leader.

Besnard, Bright and Skaife were waved through and crossed the line 18th, 20th and 21st respectively, with Murphy crossing the line first.

A stewards enquiry later concluded the original timing was correct, and Besnard was declared the Race 3 winner.

An engine failure saw Ambrose retire from the race, but he went on the clinch a second drivers’ title at the Eastern Creek season finale a few weeks later.

Besnard’s win from so far down the grid kicked off a precedent of results, albeit rare; in 10 seasons prior to 2021, there were 14 instances of a winner coming from 11th or lower.

Last month, current championship leader Shane van Gisbergen remarkably won the Penrite Oil Sandown SuperSprint opener from 17th on the grid.

Van Gisbergen won from 17th on the grid at Sandown last month

Van Gisbergen’s win, though, couldn’t match the surprise of Besnard. who entered the 2004 Tasmania result 30th in the championship.

“It was just timing,” Besnard told Motorsport News magazine after the race.

“We decided to take a later pitstop and everything just played right into our hands, strangely enough.

“Obviously you want to win a race on speed rather than strategy, but I had Bright and Skaife behind me and was pulling away from both of them, so there is merit in it.”

The Repco Supercars Championship field will return to Symmons Plains for the Beaurepaires Tasmania SuperSprint across April 17-18. Tickets are on sale now.

The event will be broadcast live on Foxtel and will be streamed on Kayo.

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