Bathurst 24 Hours – Hours 4-6 Report

Hour 4 - Slicks Again
Three and a half hours into the race and it was time for the bravest to put slicks on again. The 05 Monaro and the Lamborghini were among the first to change rubber, Luke Youlden at the wheel of the Italian V12, and carrying on Paul Stokell's fine recovery. Allan Simonsen would be third man in: "It's so tough when you lose time like that. We can gain a few seconds on the leaders, but we can't gain six laps. We just have to wait and see. But this is a very quick car - and I love driving in Australia. It's much better than sitting around in Europe. I will be driving Mark Coffey's 550 Ferrari. What a shame we haven't got it here."

Jonathan Rowland had been setting some good times in the 24 Cirtek Porsche, and was on his in lap to hand over to Herman Tilke, and have slicks fitted, when he hit the wall at the top of the circuit - front and rear contacts unfortunately. The team changed a rear control arm and sent Tilke out, but a close look at the car on the TV screen revealed trouble at the front. The track designer - no, not this one, Bernie ones - pulled the car back in for a new front end.

"Herman designs them and Jonathan hits them," was a classic Rob Schirle comment. Tim Harvey was frustrated, but acknowledged that Rowland had done a good job - until that in lap.Harvey enjoyed his opening stint. It wasn't exactly planned that he'd start gently, then get down to the same 2:16s as David Brabham: "I'd only done six laps yesterday - so I took a few laps to build up to speed. Then they told me they didn't want 2:16s, but 2:18s!

"Then I hit a large piece of undertray on Con-Rod Straight, which caused the puncture."

Pat Pearce enjoyed his long stint at the wheel of the Mosler. When he got it a little bit active at the steering wheel at the top of the circuit - "I locked a brake coming down the hill" - Martin Short got on the radio and "Gave him a phone call,"

Short's last message to Charles Lamb was to "be careful," because getting to the finish is the first target for this organised bunch. They'd lost a lap when the safety car came out for the downpour, and another when the wiper played up, but Pearce was thrilled to spend nearly three hours at the wheel, in such 'mixed' conditions. "We'd already pitted for fuel and slicks before the rain came, so I had to pit on slicks, and was broadside in the pit lane entry - from side to side three times."

The race pattern hadn't changed much in the fourth hour - except that the Lamborghini had moved ever further up the order. The Mosler was a couple of laps ahead though, so further progress might be a long job.

Hour Four Positions

1. 05 Monaro 84 laps
2. 427 Monaro –20 secs
3. 48 Ferrari 83 laps
4. 54 Porsche
5. 7 Porsche
6. 6 Porsche 82 laps
7. 420 BMW
8. 900 Mosler 81 laps
9. 20 Lamborghini 79 laps
10. 888 Porsche 78 laps
11. 70 Porsche 77 laps
12. 8 Porsche
13. 4 BMW 76 laps

29. 24 Porsche 69 laps
40. 66 Morgan 57 laps.

Hour 5 - Still Dry
Of the leading bunch, the 420 PHR BMW and the 888 Porsche have both suffered delays, reasons currently unknown.

The safety car came out for the second time at 18.42, after Fabien Coulthard's Touring Car came to a halt on the track, but seven minutes later we were back racing again. Headlights typically came on around this time, but dusk won't be until nearer 20.00.

No dramatic changes at the front, except for the above PHR cars - and the fact that the Monaros ended up right together on the track, Kelly in 05 ahead of McConville in 427.

Montermini had followed Klaus Engelhorn in the 48 Ferrari, and despite being a lap down, the Italian was looking as though he could get that lap back either side of 19.00. Ten the Monaros got the message and suddenly reeled off 2:17s, against the Italian in the Italian car and a 2:18.

Erdos, Simonsen and Quinn (in the VIP Petfoods Porsche) were the next fastest men on the track.

The pattern at the front is the Ferrari chasing the Monaros - with the Falken 54 Porsche still well in touch with the BE Ferrari.

Adam Sharpe has been flying along in the Morgan, consistent laps in the high twenties - with a best lap, by Neil Cunningham, of 2:25. Come on the Moggie! Cunningham will soon begin to gain places hand over fist at this rate.

The 420 BMW had the tail (prop) shaft fail, dropping it down the order - it was actually stationary at 19.00.

Hour Five Positions

1. 05 Monaro 106 laps
2. 427 Monaro –14 secs
3. 48 Ferrari 105 laps
4. 54 Porsche
5. 7 Porsche 104 laps
6. 6 Porsche 103 laps
7. 900 Mosler 102 laps
8. 20 Lamborghini 101 laps
9. 70 Porsche 99 laps
10. 8 Porsche 97 laps
11. 420 BMW 97laps
12. 11 BMW 96 laps

32. 24 Porsche 87laps
39. 66 Morgan 77 laps.

Hour 6 - Ferrari Form, Lambo Passes Lamb
Some snapshot fastest laps at approx. 19.30:

Montermini, Ferrari 2:17
McConville, Monaro 2:19
Simonsen, Lamborghini 2:20
Erdos, Porsche 2:20
Kelly Monaro 2:21.

The Gregg Kelly 2:21 was atypical, but when the Monaros ease up, the chasers can match or beat them, when the pros. are at the wheel.

The BE Ferrari effectively lost the lap with Klaus Engelhorn driving the third stint - but as the TV images switch to (bloody) rugby, MONTERMINI GETS THE LAP BACK! Now we have a race on our hands .... and at 19.50 Montermini sets a 2:15.860.On that lap he was five seconds faster than the Monaros. Which would you rather watch? A waffly Holden or a screaming 360?

Allan Simonsen passed Charles Lamb for seventh place before midway through the hour.

Just before 20.00, six hours into the race, the Moggie has stopped somewhere on the track, and the SC is out: Montermini has got the lap back, and pits straight away - for Brabs we reckon.

But, we can't yet work out how the Ferrari has suddenly lost, not gained, a lap.... perhaps a badly timed stop, presumably a stop it had to make? We'll go and find out.

Hour Six Positions

1. 427 Monaro 131 laps
2. 05 Monaro –6 secs
3. 48 Ferrari 130 laps
4. 54 Porsche 129 laps
5. 7 Porsche
6. 6 Porsche 127 laps
7. 20 Lamborghini 126 laps
8. 900 Mosler 125 laps
9. 70 Porsche 123 laps
10. 8 Porsche 121 laps
11. 11 BMW 119 laps
12. 420 BMW 118 laps

25. 24 Porsche 108 laps
36. 66 Morgan 97 laps.

Shit. Moggie out with engine failure.


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