FERRARI TAKE STUNNING VICTORY AT 12 HOUR
Outlasting all of its challenges, Maranello Motorsports has taken its second victory in the 12 Hour with Craig Lowndes, Jamie Whincup and Toni Vilander.
The trio had to deal with the ever present test thrown down by the Scott Taylor Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen, Maro Engel and Craig Baird. Unfortunately van Gisbergen crashed out in the closing stages at The Dipper.
His battle with van Gisbergen was ‘hard and fair’ according to a delighted Whincup.
“It was quite ironic that me and my teammate Gizzy were fighting for the win right at the end there,” Whincup said
“He was driving like he usually does, all over the place which is good! He’s hard and fair. Certainly enjoyed the battle, there is always a bit of grass action when we’re rubbing panels.”
After winning the Allan Simonsen Trophy for Pole Position, today was a near perfect day from the team said Vilander.
“Yeah, you know sometimes you have those days, clear track and just felt really comfortable in the car. Even all the traffic seemed like it was dropping in the right places with the right timing.
“I had clear air with the car and it felt like it was working perfectly. Even the tyres, I never had to go offline. Sometimes when you’re fast feels like it’s easier so today was definitely one of those days.
Lowndes agreed with Vilander and considering the troubled lead up for the team.
“I did a lot of the morning shift and looked out for the traffic and brought the car home clean until the restart of my final stint. For me, as Tony said, the car, we rolled it out and didn’t do much with over the course of the couple of days. It was a much nicer car than the 458 over the top of the mountain for both Jamie and I to get familiar with the car.
“We did have a good lead into this weekend and we did have some issues but we rectified that. With Tony putting it on pole yesterday we knew that we had a strong car, we just didn’t know who else was going to be strong for the day.”
Second went to the Competition Motorsports of David Calvert-Jones, Patrick Long, Matt Campbell and Marc Lieb ahead of the brand new #17 M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3 of Steven Kane, Guy Smith and Oliver Jarvis.
Fourth place and winner of Pro-Am was the #912 Walkinshaw Porsche 991 GT3R of John Martin Liam Talbot and Duvasheen Padayachee and completing the top five was the Alvaro Parente, Rob Bell and Come Ledogar Tekno McLaren 650s GT3, which overheated and provided an exciting pyrotechnics show.
Key entries to fall out of contention included the van Gisbergen Mercedes, the second Walkinshaw Porsche, the MARC BMW, the #23 Nissan, the Castrol BMW and both the #59 McLaren and #99 Walkenhorst BMW in qualifying.
Class winners were the Dean Grant, David Wall and Dylan O’Keefe Porsche 997 Cup Car in Class B after the Grove Motorsport car crashed out on lap 32 after dominating all practice and qualifying sessions.
Will Brown added a Bathurst class title to his ever growing trophy cabinet winning Class I with Rod Salmon and Keith Kassulke in the #91 MARC Ford Focus and the GT4 Class went to the Prosport Performance Porsche Cayman GT4 of Max Braams, Jorg Viebahn, Nicolaij Moller-Madsen and Harrison Jones.
A fully detailed report will feature in Auto Action #1703. Out Thursday.
Pictures supplied by Dirk Klynsmith Photography
Date posted: February 5, 2017