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Hazelwood recounts 'frightening' late race ordeal

Supercars
10 Oct
'Bathurst kicked us in the nuts… there was a fair element of panic behind the wheel'
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  • Todd Hazelwood/Tim Blanchard Ford one of two cars to DNF after lap 155

  • Starter motor fell out of #3 Ford late in Sunday's race

  • Hazelwood had already lost cool suit and helmet air hose

Todd Hazelwood’s first Bathurst campaign with the Blanchard Racing Team came to a “frightening” conclusion due to an errant starter motor, which resulted in a late DNF.

The Hazelwood/Tim Blanchard Ford was one of two cars, along with the Mark Winterbottom/Michael Caruso DEWALT Camaro, to just fall short on Sunday.

But where the Winterbottom car ran out of fuel and couldn’t rejoin the race, Hazelwood was subject to a scarier fate when the starter motor fell out his car.

It came after the #3 CoolDrive Mustang’s cool suit system failed, with the helmet air hose also breaking during Hazelwood’s stint.

Recap: Race 24 2023 Repco Bathurst 1000

Already with the Mountain against them, with the #3 copping an early penalty over a pit lane infringement, Hazelwood and Blanchard’s day suffered a late blow.

“Bathurst kicked us in the nuts today, I tell ya,” Hazelwood told the Schick Cool Down Lap podcast.

“We had a starter motor fall off with about 12 laps to go… I lost all power going down Conrod [Straight].

“For a couple of laps, I was trying to work out what was going on. I lost all radio, lost all the steering wheel, lost all the dash. I couldn’t communicate with the team what was going on.

“I tried to press on, not knowing what the issue was. I knew something wasn’t right, which was a bit frightening. The dash was intermittent, it would come on then go off.

“With about eight laps to go, I felt a massive thud going up Mountain Straight underneath the car. I knew I hadn’t ran over anything, something had either fallen off or let go.”

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Hazelwood managed to safely get the car to pit lane, but the damage proved too great to overcome.

There was a bright spot for BRT, with the wildcard Aaron Love/Jake Kostecki Petronas-backed Ford finishing 19th. It came on a weekend Love took his first Super2 win for the BRT, before suffering a big crash on Saturday.

“There was a fair element of panic behind the wheel, it turned out the starter motor had fallen off and wedged itself in the back of the car,” Hazelwood continued. 

"I was skull-dragging the starter motor around underneath the car for around four laps, hence the [mechanical] black flag.

“Saw the black flag and knew I had to come in, I knew the race was somewhere close to finishing, and two laps short, unfortunately.

“I tell you what, we had everything thrown at us. We obviously had that penalty in the spit stop, I had no cool suit or helmet hose from as soon as I got in the car.

“We did the whole the race with no cool suit, no helmet. The car was actually quite fast, but with the penalty worked out and we had to take it, and all the green lap running, it put us a lap down and we couldn’t get it back.

“It hurts, but that’s Bathurst… hopefully next year is nicer to us — I’ve had seven years here, and walked away almost disappointed every year. That’s the way it goes."

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