24 Hours – Hours 1-3 Report
1 - Unstressed
This was a fascinating first hour. The opening laps saw the Mosler,
Shorty at the wheel, mixing it with the two Monaros, the John Bowe
BMW, Paul Morris in the 54 Falken Porsche and Paul Stokell in the
Mixing it is
really an exaggeration, but the MT900 certainly closed up on the
two Monaros across the Mountain for the first time, having powered
ahead of Bowe going up the hill on lap 1.
But Short soon
eased back on his pace, such that he slipped behind a charging Stokell
Lambo, the V12 having passed Bowe on lap two.
top six was these six, and so far we had no sign of Brabham in the
BE Ferrari or Harvey in the Cirtek Porsche shining in this race.
We soon would.
The Morgan was
running in an excellent 13th early on, but pitted twice within the
first half an hour with what looked like severe water loss. Lots
of the cold stuff was certainly added. It was a radiator hose that
had worn away against a pulley.
The Peter Floyd
Kawasaki Porsche was smoking badly, but it was “only a loose
oil tank cap,” said Liz Halliday, but Floyd then copped a
drive through penalty.
flying in third in the Diablo, but punctured in Caltex Chase, the
flailing rubber then damaging a brake line and dropping this one
to 28th. Stokell had a biggish off under braking as the tyre let
go, but the damage was purely from the rubber.
With Short and
Bowe going at it very sensibly, and Morris too, it was Harvey and
Brabham suddenly into third and fourth. These two old pros. had
played it cautiously for 20 minutes, then moved though most of the
top six. Harvey let Brabham through going up the hill after 50 minutes,
the blue Porsche then puncturing its left rear a lap later. These
two had both lapped in the 2:16s, almost as fast as the Monaros.
beasties dominated the hour though, Brock moving past Pretty after
30 minutes or so, and easing away to a 15 second lead.
Just after the
hour, the 40 BMW M3 (Robert Brooks) made a mistake on the top, and
touched the VIP Porsche – and then the wall, very hard. That
brought out the first safety car – and while it was out (from
70 minutes into the race), the rain began at the bottom part of
the track. That’s right – at the bottom, not at the
1. 05 Monaro
2. 427 Monaro –15
3. 48 Ferrari –35
4. 54 Porsche –51
5. 420 BMW –57
6. 900 Mosler –76
7. 6 Porsche (B)
8. 7 Porsche (B)
9. 24 Porsche
10. 70 Porsche
11. 888 Porsche
12. 11 Ferrari (B)
13. 4 BMW (B)
14. 59 Commodore (F)
15. 23 BMW (F)
20. 8 Porsche
– 3 laps
28. 20 Lamborghini – 4 laps
43. 66 Morgan – 15 laps
2 – Bloody Wet
The rain was so heavy that most cars pitted immediately, but the
05 Monaro was one that had already stopped (for Murphy, at 65 minutes),
so stayed out on slicks for a while behind the SC – and eventually
had to come in, sideways and very slowly!
rain hitting the whole track, the SC stayed out – and with
cars pitting from behind it, the order on the track didn’t
The rain remained
very, very heavy, and the SC remained on the track. This was rain
by the bucket load, and at the top of the hill, rivers were flowing
over the wall, onto the track.
1 hour 45: SC
still out. Neil Cunningham pops in to report that the Morgan is
now running fine, having lost at least half an hour of green flag
lightning next: maybe we’d better post this while we can……..
as the whole field is stopped on the track.
They soon got
under way again, still behind the SC, and that's the way it stayed
at two hours.
The stops for
wet rubber and fuel had left a few subtle changes to the order at
The 05 Monaro
dropped to fourth, so Richards led in 427, from the BE Ferrari and
then Fitzgerald in the 54 Porsche, Bowe in fifth in the 5 litre
BMW, the 7 Porsche sixth, the GNM GT3-RS seventh, the Alzens' Porsche
eighth, Mosler ninth, 888 Porsche tenth and VJ Angelo still in an
outstanding position - 11th in the Z3.
3 - Racing Again, Fast Guys Shine
went racing again. Michael Bartels briefly unlapped himself from
Steven Richards in the 427 Monaro - but the big, unstressed Holden
eased past again down Con-Rod Straight, and Bartels couldn't get
the lap back.
has been very impressive in the Diablo, passing the 05 Murphy Monaro
to get one lap back. At 140 mins. into the race, Bartels was actually
the quickest man on the track, but as the tarmac dried (the rain
had actually stopped soon after they went green flag racing) the
Monaros took over again - or at least until a drier line started
to appear. Then it began raining again, and the pace of the top
runners 'settled' into the mid 2:30 bracket.
Here are the
lap times of the top ten at 2 hours 45 minutes, just before the
track started to get wetter, rather than drier.
1. 427 2:32.5
2. 05 2:35.8
3. 48 2:32.3
4. 7 2:37.4
5. 54 2:36.5
6. 420 2:38.2
7. 6 2:33.7 -1 lap
8. 900 2:37.0
9. 70 2:48.7 -2 laps
10. 888 2:45.7
11. 20 2:33.0.
trouble knowing who is in what without checking, because the driver
names aren't changing on the timing screen. Philipp Peter is definitely
in the BE Ferrari in third place, because Klaus Engelhorn has just
told us, and we know Pat Pearce is in the Mosler, because the other
three drivers are all in the pit. Pearce was having a real old wrestle
with the Mosler - possibly not the perfect car in the wet.
are 18 seconds apart, with Philipp Peter a minute further back.
The closest battle is between the 7 and 54 Porsches, just a second
apart. Notice that the Lamborghini is up to 11th place (from 28th)
- a great Paul Stokell drive, which only ended when he pitted at
2 hours 50 minutes. There's a three hour limit for one driver to
stay at the wheel.
So an eighth
of this unusual event has passed, and the Monaros seem perfect in
the wet and the dry. They're so unstressed as to be ... well, embarrassing,
really. They just waffle along.
scene in the paddock: a rear axle has been removed from a road going
Z3 and is headed for a racer with a failed one - we think no. 26.
The Morgan is
running perfectly, Tom Shrimpton at the wheel, but 25 laps down
on the overall leader, in 41st place. The 24 Cirtek Porsche is 16th,
and matching the times of the top group as it recovers from its
puncture. The sister no. 8 car is also six laps down, after its
oil leak and black flag problems.
at six hours.