Odd couple wins extraordinary Bathurst

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 12/10/2014
  • By V8 Supercars

It can be plain weird, extraordinarily formidable and downright cruel. There were more twists, plots and sub-plots in living memory throughout one of the most extraordinary Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 races in history.

One of the youngest drivers in the field and one of the oldest won the race from dead last when arguably one of the greatest V8 Supercars drivers of all-time runs out of fuel in sight of his fifth Bathurst crown in the longest Bathurst 1000 in history.

Chaz Mostert and Paul Morris might be the oddest combination but they are now Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 winners. They proved with a young, pure racer, a wise head and the tenacity to match, they could crash and win.

"I never even thought I would get into the top 10. It's fantastic. Who would know that we would go from 25th to first," said Mostert.

"It's my third win in the series so to have it at Bathurst is unbelievable. I grew up watching Peter Brock and it was unbelievably sad when he left us. Now to be just 22 years old and hold the Peter Brock Trophy and take it back to FPR is definitely very emotional."

Yet another great story was unfolding behind in the shape of Norton Hornet Nissan driver James Moffat, son of one of the greatest racers Allan Moffat, and his co-driver Taz Douglas who finished second, passing the fuel poor Jamie Whincup at the death.

Even more stunning was the fact they crashed not once but twice in the race.

"What an amazing day," said Moffat.

"The cars were really sketchy to drive. I was screaming on the radio to the engineers, giving them an ear bashing, but the result is unbelievable.

"Special thanks to my good mate Taz Douglas. He brought me back a car that looked like it had come out of a scene from Dukes of Hazard, but it would be good enough for me."

Nick Percat and Brit Oliver Gavin were third in the Heavy Haulage Australia Racing Commodore having been one of the cleanest, and best, cars all day.

Whincup was within arm's reach of his sixth Bathurst when he took the lead by passing fierce rival Mark Winterbottom, but unlike the ultimate winners did stop for one last lick of fuel.

"I kept screaming in the cockpit - cough you bastard, cough," Mostert said as Whincup's car slowly bled its fuel tank dry, confirming that his team told him the Red Bull racer was in trouble.

"It was the best feeling ever to cross the line for all the Ford fans. Words can't describe how I feel right now. We were almost out of the race but we got it back out of the fence and pushed on and all the safety cars went our way."

Whincup's team screamed at him across the radio lap after lap telling him to conserve fuel or he wouldn't make it. Whincup did not respond until a few laps to go. He was then passed by Mostert and three other cars before running out of fuel on the finish line.

"I think he could hear us," Whincup's engineer David Cauchi told v8supercars.com.au.

"When we realised it wasn't going to happen, I was gutted. I honestly don't know what to say. I'm a bit stuck for words at the moment, I'm a bit emotional, sorry.

"That's what makes this race so special, because there's so many little things it takes half a kilo, half a litre of fuel that can make or break your day. That's the beautiful Bathurst race."

Whincup was knocking out fast laps even after he'd been told to conserve in the closing stages of the race and did not respond to the radio calls until team boss and his former engineer Mark Dutton intervened on the radio.

"It looks like I didn't manage the fuel like I needed to but I did the best I could, there wasn't much more left to do," said Whincup.

"I knew I was in trouble when we hit the pot earlier than expected, I got a number to stick to and I thought I was doing pretty well but it didn't work out that way.

"I did what I could today and it didn't pay off but we're hoping next time it will."

A rarely seen mid-race stoppage for a little over an hour to fix the track surface was just one part of a day that saw nearly everything, and plenty of big crashes set the stage for the incredible finish.

The heartbreak before and after was palpable. It would be physically impossible to list them. The worst came, as always, when the end was in sight.

There were none more than Shane van Gisbergen who lost a hefty lead with just 11 laps to go when he incredibly stalled his car when grabbing a quick shot of fuel. He and teammate Jonathon Webb were the quickest all day and looked a near certainty.

But Van Gisbergen stalled his Commodore and could not get it restarted. He was absolutely devastated, and understandably so.

There was also Winterbottom who was spun by Craig Lowndes when in second with just eight laps to go, having just been passed by the flying Whincup.

Amongst the other cruellest of casualties were David Reynolds and Dean Canto after 117 laps before an alternator failure like Van Gisbergen; and Scott McLaughlin, in the Valvoline GRM Volvo with Alex Premat, was fourth when he hit the wall after 118 laps. That was to name only a few.

Another with high hopes was Brad Jones Racing who had three cars qualify in the top eight.

However the major hope of Fabian Coulthard/Luke Youlden in the Lockwood Racing entry hit a Kangaroo while the Jason Bright/Andrew Jones BOC car was rammed by their fellow BJR car driven by Dale Wood.

There was a bevy of safety car periods for a series of incidents that called for drivers and teams to constantly re-evaluate their concentration and strategies.

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