24 Hours – Hours 19-24 Report
19 – Alzens Third
Tommy Erdos breezed into the press room, looking very relaxed and
refreshed, to report that the GNM Porsche should be going out within
an hour of the last quarter of the race starting.
As one British-entered
Porsche is revived, another dies. The 24 Cirtek Porsche won’t
fire up. “We can’t find a spark,” says the otherwise
sparky Rob Schirle. “Crank trigger, ECU, we’ve tried
everything – and can’t find it.”
was pressing on in the Kawasaki Porsche just into the last quarter,
a lap or so ahead of the VIP 911.
- after a most unfortunate first stint yesterday (he was ill, and
went back to his hotel to recover) - completed a very good stint
up to 08.55, getting down to 2:17s and 18s. “We’ve got
to push on,” said Pat Pearce as he prepared for “probably
a double stint, if I feel OK.” Undoubtedly he will.
Pearce had an
unusual problem in his second double, after midnight last night:
he lost a wheel and didn’t realize it. “I turned in
to one of the right handers and the car didn’t want to turn.
I radio’d in and said I had a vibration, and when I pitted
the team told me I didn’t have a left front wheel. I thought
the suspension had collapsed. They gave me another wheel and I went
straight back out.”
and the freshly refreshed GNM Porsche made their first appearance
of the day at 08.45, and very smart they both looked. “All
eight reference points are within 1.5 mm, which is what you’d
expect after putting it on a laser jig,” said car owner Mike
Newton. “They’ve stickered it up, and it looks very
A little too
much toe-out needed fixing, but it would soon be go time again,
after a break of over nine hours.
adjustment in the order was Michael Bartels going third in the Alzen
Porsche, ahead of the Falken car. With the Lamborghini having a
left front puncture (no. six), that was about it for the nineteenth
hour. Notice two pairs at the front, then the Mosler on its own,
then most of the rest fairly well spaced out.
1. 427 Monaro 415 laps
2. 05 Monaro 415 laps
3. 6 Porsche 403 laps
4. 54 Porsche 403 laps
5 . 900 Mosler 399 laps
6. 8 Porsche 386 laps
7. 7 Porsche 385 laps
8. 888 Porsche 381 laps
9. 20 Lamborghini 374 laps
10. 71 BMW 369 laps.
20 – Then Fourth Again
When asked whether the team would make a decision about how the
final stages would unfold at Garry Rogers Motorsport, 05# driver
Greg Murphy said, “don’t ask. I wouldn’t want
to be the one to have to make that call. Anyway, there’s still
a long way to go.”
the twentieth hour, bad news for Antipodean and Adiposian Alfa fans:
the 156 went wide at Konica Minolta and slammed into the tyres.
Time for a quick
Alfa repair by the TAFE students? Time for a quick pad and disc
change on the 427 Monaro. Except that it didn’t go very smoothly.
Is this the first ‘significant’ problem for a Monaro?
21 – More Lambo & Mosler Fun
It took half an hour to clear the crumpled Alfa, by which time the
Alzens had managed to ose almost a complete lap to the 54 Porsche
– and the four out front, on the track at least, were the
Monaros, Youlden in the Lamborghini and Pearce in the Mosler. “We’ve
got to push on,” he’d said. So he did, setting his PB
of a 2:17.189.
caught and passed the Pretty Holden at 10.13 … what would
the Diablo have achieved without several punctures and a spark plus
Pearce was next
to join the attack on a Holden. Another 2:17. Ross Palmer was delighted
to hear that the Mosler had set the fastest lap of the race, thereby
justifying his ‘parity formula.’ Pearce proved the point
by passing the yellow Holden, and catching the Lamborghini. Which
he passed on Con-Rod Straight. The Mosler looked like the race leader.
barely changed from one hour before – just the 7 and 8 911s
switching sixth and seventh places.
SC period began at 10.56 when one of the Z3s lost a wheel and spun
into the gravel, at Murrays Corner.
Hours 22 and
23 were essentially more of the same. Here's local man David McCowen's
look at the battle for third place.
the two Holden Monaros have had an untroubled run throughout the
race, and look to maintain their status for an impressive 1-2 finish.
However, the race for third has reached its climax as two countries
continue to vie for dais glory.
Tyres Porsche is piloted by local Bathurst gurus Paul Morris, Peter
Fitzgerald, Scott Shearman and John Teulan. The Australians have
entered a GT3 Carrera Cup that regularly competes on Australian
soil, and they have been a strong force throughout the race. The
Falken tyres team is presently third, having overtaken the Alzen
Porsche in the 19th hour.
entry, Jurgen Alzen Motorsport, is crewed by four experienced German
drivers in Jurgen and Uwe Alzen, Arno Klasen and Michael Bartels.
This has been their first drive at Bathurst and they are thrilled
with their progress to date. Arno Klasen, a veteran Nurburgring
24hr challenger describes his first lap at Mount Panorama as “a
marvellous feeling, (because) the circuit has great atmosphere”
white Alzen Porsche was at first overcome by more powerful challengers,
but as the race rolled on it developed a rhythm with the circuit
that remains unbroken. When thunderstorms and pouring rain assaulted
the circuit, the Alzen drivers drew on their immense collective
experience to maintain neat, fast times in atrocious conditions,
and as the sun greeted them this morning, they found themselves
running third outright and first in class.
the team’s undramatic run to the flag as “a result of
good work from the team to prepare the car”, and because of
the infallible nature of the German drivers in their adaptation
to the ever-changing Bathurst conditions. Klasen’s departing
comments as he prepared to strap into the 4th placed Porsche were
“we hope for rain… in the case of rain we are able to
catch (the) Falken Porsche.”
two Porsches are on the same lap and separated by mere seconds,
there is a dark horse still lurking – waiting for a sniff
of Porsche…. Unreliability? It has been an outstanding performance
throughout the 24 hours by the Rollcentre Mosler.
cheered on Martin Short when he put together an amazing sequence
of laps to catch, pass, and take a lap back from the indomitable
Monaros. With an hour left the Mosler is six / seven laps behind
the Alzen GT3.
Other than this
long-standing scrap, it's been relatively uneventful as the second
24 Hours heads to a conclusion. Two dramas occurred just before
the last hour began: firstly Ross Palmer's little S2000, with its
very pretty green light beneath, struck the wall at 'Donut Corner'.
It was too badly damaged to continue, and dribbled some fluids -
green coolant? - across the track. Charlie 'Handlebars' Kovacs was
the naughty chappie responsible.
Then the 427
Monaro pitted moments before the last hour started, for a routine
stop and then for some kind of precautionary 'differential top up'.
Suspicious Australian journos were wondering....was this a ploy
to have Brock win the 24 Hours at his first attempt?
A more interesting
scrap was that between Peter Hackett in the Diablo and Will Power
in 888. 23 seconds, 38 minutes left.
But the 888 car was a late stopper and then stopper out on the track,
so the Lamborghini took a well deserved seventh - behind the two
Monaros, the Falken Porsche, the Alzen Porsche, the Rollcentre Mosler
(first and only non-Porsche / Holden in the top seven) and the no.7
and no. 8 Porsches.
in the third-placed Falken car expressed the view that "we
were in the first car you can buy from the showroom floor."
So what happened
between the Monaros? It was "hammer and tongs" according
to Garth Tander, who chased Greg Murphy all the way home - including
the pair lacking in 2:14.
was more carnage and debris during the last three laps than throughout
the previous 24 hours," explained Tander.
was hairy old stuff, the slow cars behaving impeccably - or almost
impeccably - as Murphy and Tander charged along nose to tail.
story was that a diff. oil cooler failed on the 427 car, causing
the stop under a fortunate safety car period with an hour to go.
It was a classic
endurance racing finish in so many ways. Just three and a half tenths
between them after 527 laps.
ever seen a 24 hour race finish like that between two team cars,"
asked Peter Brock. Of course, no one had.
It was a thrilling
finish. The race didn't really come alive throughout much of its
duration, but the weather, the circuit, the hospitality, the friendship
- the atmosphere. The three day crowd was 41,000, compared to 21,000
Overall a great
success. Thanks Bathurst, thanks Australia.
was made to have a fight at the finish," said 'Murph' at the
press conference. "It's tough to go flat chat like that for
three laps. I think we're first equal (he said on the podium)."
It was an exciting
to everyone who helped make this such a meeting and event to remember.