Porsche leads through three hours after first Safety Car

Bathurst 12 Hour
18 Feb
Ayhancan Güven controlled the race through three hours following a strategy masterstroke by Manthey EMA
  • #912 Manthey EMA Porsche leads through three hours

  • First Safety Car called after Vortex spins out

  • #130 GruppeM Mercedes-AMG penalised from second

The #912 Manthey EMA Porsche led the Repco Bathurst 12 Hour through three hours, which featured the first Safety Car deployment of the race.

Ayhancan Güven controlled the race after the first round of pit stops following a strategy masterstroke by the Porsche squad.

The Turkish driver, sharing with Laurens Vanthoor and Matt Campbell, took control after a clever overcut put the #912 into the lead.

Güven led the field to green on the stroke of the three-hour mark, after a Safety Car was called over a spin across the top of the Mountain for the #701 Vortex of Julien Boillot.

First Safety Car called after Vortex spins across the top

On the restart, Race Control advised the second-placed #130 GruppeM Mercedes-AMG — with Felipe Fraga behind the wheel — had to serve a drive-through penalty over a pit stop infringement.

Earlier, the pole-sitting #32 WRT BMW of Sheldon van der Linde — which led the first hour of the race — kicked off the first round of stops with Triple Eight and Team MPC.

Van der Linde, Mikaël Grenier (#888 National Storage Mercedes-AMG) and Ricardo Feller (#2 KFC Team MPC Audi) handed over to Charles Weerts, Will Brown and Markus Winkelhock respectively.

On the following lap, Maro Engel (#130 GruppeM Mercedes-AMG), Luca Stolz (#75 SunEnergy1 Merceces-AMG) and Maxime Martin (#46 WRT BMW) were brought in, with David Reynolds, Jules Gounon and Valentino Rossi taking over.

With the BMWs and Mercedes-AMGs fighting cold tyres — and each other — Manthey EMA pulled a masterstroke and kept the #912 out, with Güven emerging a clear leader after taking over from Laurens Vanthoor.

A heart-in-mouth moment for BMW saw Rossi and Weerts run line astern into Reid Park, with Gounon and Brown hustling the WRT duo as Güven and Reynolds raced on.

First pit stops trigger tense scrap between leaders

The leaders continued to catch traffic, with the margin between Güven fluctuating dramatically. For a time, the top five were covered by 2.5s, before Güven built a sizeable lead.

At the two-hour mark, Güven led Reynolds by 5.3s, with the margin blowing out to nine seconds by the time they pitted for a second time after 65 laps.

Reynolds handed over to Fraga, with Kenny Habul taking over from Gounon, Raffaele Marciello from Rossi, and Dries Vanthoor from Weerts.

The two BMWs changed hands through the stops, with the #46 ahead of the #32. Before the stops, Rossi ceded track position to Weerts after the MotoGP legend bowled a wide at Murray’s Corner.

Güven remained in the #912, and enjoyed a 15.5s lead over Fraga, who had Marciello and Vanthoor 2.6s and 4.1s behind respectively. Brown, meanwhile, remained in the #888, and sat fifth.

Traffic jams galore as #912 Porsche leads field to green

The biggest mover was again the #13 Phantom Global Porsche which, after a spirited first stint by Jaxon Evans, was up to sixth at the hands of Bastian Buus — past Jayden Ojeda (#77 Craft-Bamboo Mercedes-AMG) and Habul — by the time Boillot spun out.

The Safety Car coincided with further dramas for the #56 Ginetta, with Paul Buccini pulling over on Mountain Straight.

Under yellow, WRT opted to double-stack the #46 and #32, with Broc Feeney taking over the #888 Mercedes-AMG from Brown.

On the restart, Güven led Fraga, who came in for his drive-through penalty, handing second and third to Marciello and Dries Vanthoor. Feeney and Buus completed the top five, with Habul sixth.

The #911 The Bend Manthey EMA Porsche, with Alessio Picariello, led in Pro-Am in 11th overall, with the #91 Martini-backed MARC the lead Invitational entry in 19th overall.

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