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Feeney overhauls Brown to win Bathurst 500 opener

Supercars
25 Feb
The scene is set for a big 2024 battle at Red Bull Ampol Racing, with the young guns going to battle at Mount Panorama
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  • Broc Feeney beats Will Brown in first race of 2024

  • Feeney overhauled Brown in the first round of stops

  • Ford duo Chaz Mostert third, Richie Stanaway fourth

Broc Feeney has denied new teammate Will Brown a first-up win with Red Bull Ampol Racing, with Triple Eight scoring a one-two in the first race of the 2024 Repco Supercars Championship.

A late Full Course Yellow period, the first in Supercars history, threatened to undo the work of Feeney (#88 Red Bull Ampol Chevrolet), who claimed victory in the Thrifty Bathurst 500 by 1.2s.

However, a bp pulse Safety Car, triggered by a crash for Aaron Love, guaranteed victory for Feeney, with Brown and Walkinshaw Andretti United star Chaz Mostert (#25 Mobil 1 Optus Ford) completing the podium.

Feeney overhauled pole-sitter Brown (#87 Red Bull Ampol Chevrolet) during the first round of stops to gain track position, and remained ahead after the second stops. Later, Brown revealed he had left his pit speed limiter on, which may have helped Feeney get ahead.

Mostert was first Ford home in third, ahead of returning driver Richie Stanaway (#26 Penrite Ford), and the impressive Cameron Hill (#4 Tyrepower Chevrolet).

"I felt like I needed a win to get me going again," said Feeney, whose last victory came at the Penrite Oil Sandown 500 last September.

"Still haven't made up for [the 2023 Bathurst 1000], we'll be trying to chase that one in October.

"We had plenty of speed in that second stint, which was great... the car's really fast and I just want to go racing again, but I'm pumped to be here."

Race start: Triple Eight duo deny Mostert, Wood wiped out

There was drama from the get-go, with James Golding — who qualified sixth — forced to start from pit lane when his #31 PremiAir Nulon Camaro didn’t move from the grid.

Brown, Feeney and Mostert went three-wide into Turn 1, with the WAU Ford given nowhere to go in a Triple Eight pincer movement.

There was a worse fate for Mostert's teammate Ryan Wood (#2 Mobil 1 Truck Assist Ford), who was wiped out immediately when he was caught in a logjam with Andre Heimgartner (#8 R&J Batteries Chevrolet), Thomas Randle (#55 Castrol Ford) and Tim Slade (#23 PremiAir Nulon Chevrolet).

As the lights went out on the bp pulse Safety Car, Race Control notified that no further action would be taken over the incident.

Brown controlled the field and sprinted away at Murray's Corner, and opened up a 1.2s lead over Feeney. Hill, meanwhile, drove away from Mostert and held third.

Love crashes at the Cutting

Team 18 brought David Reynolds (#20 TRADIE Beer Chevrolet) into the pits after just seven laps, a lap after Matt Payne (#19 Penrite Ford) and Anton De Pasquale (#11 Shell V-Power Ford) were brought in for their first stops.

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Brown stopped from the lead on lap 11, handing the lead to Feeney. Feeney was brought in on the following lap, and courtesy of a shorter stop, emerged ahead of his teammate.

Down the order, Payne and De Pasquale were locked in combat, with Payne passing De Pasquale into Forrest's Elbow following an error at The Chase.

Out in front, Hill bowled a big wide at Hell Corner, but managed to keep the #4 Tyrepower Chevrolet out of the sand trap. The Canberran was brought in and resumed behind Mostert and Reynolds.

MSR kept Nick Percat (#10 Bendix Chevrolet) out until the midway point of the race, with Feeney driving away from Brown. Mostert was a net third, some 8.2s behind, trailed by Reynolds, Stanaway, Todd Hazelwood (#99 TFH Hire Services Chevrolet) and Hill.

Loose Waters wheel triggers first Full Course Yellow

Percat resumed in ninth, between Bryce Fullwood (#14 Middy's Electrical Chevrolet) and Payne, while Stanaway moved past Reynolds, who made an error at The Chase.

Triple Eight reacted when Love sent the #3 CoolDrive Ford into the wall at the Cutting, with Brown brought in from second amid the threat of a Safety Car. Love managed to return the car to pit lane, with the Blanchard Racing Team sending the repaired Ford back onto the track.

Team 18 brought Reynolds in, before Fullwood stopped on the following lap. Mostert and Hill stopped on lap 28, with Mostert emerging 3.7s behind Brown. Stanaway and Feeney stopped on lap 29 and lap 30 respectively, with Feeney keeping Brown at bay.

Percat was the final driver to stop and emerged line astern with Fullwood, before being cleared by the #14 Middy's Electrical Chevrolet and forced to defend from Reynolds.

With eight laps remaining, the front left wheel came loose from Cam Waters' #6 Monster Energy Ford, with the errant wheel forcing Race Control to deploy the first Full Course Yellow in Supercars history.

More trouble at the Cutting for rookie Love

The FCY was rescinded on lap 35, with Brown restarting just 0.5s behind Feeney. Mostert, meanwhile, was just three seconds behind the duelling Triple Eight teammates.

Feeney set his fastest lap of the race on lap 37, and opened up a 1.6s lead over Brown. Mostert pressed on, but was still two seconds behind Brown.

A second crash for Love at the Cutting, however, prevented more late drama for Feeney, who dropped out of contention in last October's Repco Bathurst 1000 due to a gearbox issue. There was no such heartbreak on this occasion, Feeney taking his first Supercars win at Mount Panorama to lead the championship for the first time.

Stanaway, Hill, Percat, Fullwood, Reynolds, Heimgartner and Payne rounded out the top 10, with Waters classified five laps down in 22nd, one position behind De Pasquale.

Red Bull Ampol Racing has a 75-point teams' championship lead over MSR, with Penrite Racing third ahead of Brad Jones Racing.

The fastest lap of the race belonged to Mostert, who clocked a 2:08.0797s on lap 33.

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