A faulty gear position sensor was behind James Golding’s shoddy start to the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
Caught out by late rain in the Friday qualifying session, the Mark Winterbottom-led IRWIN entry started the Great Race just 18th.
That soon became last when Golding bogged down off the line, setting the stage for an almighty fightback to eighth.
“We didn’t get off to the best of starts with the gear position sensor not reading properly,” said Golding.
“It read that I was in neutral and I thought I was in first gear but I was actually in second.
“I took off in second gear so that’s how we lost all that ground and ended up in last place, so to recover back to eighth place I think was pretty good and a fantastic job by the team.
“They worked faultlessly all day and didn’t put a foot wrong.”
Even better than eighth appeared on the cards when Winterbottom held a genuine sixth heading into the final quarter of the 161-lap race, only for mechanical gremlins to flare up.
"We lost a bit of power steering with about 50 to go to the end and we had an engine issue with about 40 laps to go with smoke and oil dripping out, so we had a few little issues to navigate,” said the 2015 champion.
With the sister car of Scott Pye/Dean Fiore finishing sixth, it ensured both Team 18 cars finished the championship inside the top 10 in the squad’s first season since expanding.
Pye took the upper hand in ninth, just 20 points and one place ahead of Winterbottom.
“To have two cars in the top 10 for Team 18 at Bathurst and the championship is a great way to end a tough year,” Winterbottom added.
As for Golding, he hopes his display can spark an opportunity to return to the main game in 2021 having driven full-time for Garry Rogers Motorsport in 2018-19.
“I’ve had ambitions to come back as a full-time driver ever since I left, but I went for the best opportunity available this year and that was driving with Frosty in the enduros,” he said.
“I think we maximised what we had and had a pretty good run in the race.
“I’m not sure what may come out of this weekend, I’m talking to a few people but nothing anywhere near locked in yet, so we’ll see what happens.”