Bathurst 24 Hours – Hours 7-12 Report

Hour 7 – Lots Of Safety Car (Confusion)
So what happened to the BE Ferrari, Paul Cruickshank? Why is it now a full lap behind the Monaros, when it was less than a lap behind?

“The Monaros pitted as soon as the Safety Car came out just after 8pm, and the Safety Car then picked us up as the next car – so the Holdens were able to pit and then catch up with us. We’ve got someone up at PROCAR now, trying to sort it out.”

Perhaps the Holdens were just ‘cleverer’? If the pit lane isn’t closed in the opening moments of a SC period, then that is the time to pit, perhaps? This isn’t European rules racing.

The Safety Car was out for the first 50 minutes of the seventh hour, a car (not sure which one – see below) having rolled at the top of the circuit.

The Morgan must have put some oil down too, because Neil Cunningham had the engine blow at 20.00. “The gauges were absolutely normal, and it just went bang. Keith (Ahlers) had the same thing happen to his car at one of the British races.”

“We’ll do the Morgan thing and go down the pub,” said TM David Dowse. “I think we can be proud of what we’ve achieved.”

Yes David, you can.

“That 2:25 was in traffic, maybe a low 24 on a clear lap,” explained Cunningham. “The Dunlops were great, but on British ones I’d have been doing 2:22s. At one point I chased a Monaro all the way across the Mountain. He couldn’t get away from me.”

The Kawasaki Porsche lost out like the BE Ferrari, Brian Lawrence asking Rob Schirle to leave his office…. rather firmly. These two had already fallen out over the oil leak in the first hour. The team was told the scrutineers wanted to check that the oil system was oil tight, but having pitted, they were then told that it was actually a drive through penalty….

Dramas at Rollcentre, where we discover that Charles Lamb felt ill in the Mosler, and actually threw up in his helmet. He spun at more or less the same time, and was called in for Heather Spurle to take over – for what looks like a long old stint as she splashed and dashed under the safety car, and continued.

That long SC period was mainly caused by the no. 26 Z3 BMW rolling up at the top. Driver OK, but we understand he had to be cut out.

Hour Seven Positions
1. 427 Monaro 144 laps
2. 05 Monaro
3. 48 Ferrari 143 laps
4. 54 Porsche 142 laps
5. 7 Porsche
6. 6 Porsche 140 laps
7 . 20 Lamborghini 139 laps
8 . 900 Mosler 138 laps
9. 70 Porsche 136 laps
10. 8 Porsche 133 laps
11. 11 BMW 132 laps
12. 420 BMW 129 laps

24. 24 Porsche 121 laps

Hour 8 – More Safety Car
The big 420 BMW stopped up on top somewhere, with another failed propshaft, and the SC was called out (at 21.16) while it was removed.

Ah, it wasn’t another propshaft – Algadri had an accident, allegedly pushed off by Brock. A rear wheel has been ripped off the big BMW.

Brabham (Peter?) pitted this time, and resumed in third, in the queue, a good number of cars behind the leading Holdens.

At least it has been dry for many hours now. Slicks have been the order of the day for four hours of the seven and a half until 21.30. Green flag racing again.

The 48 Ferrari is haring after the 05 Holden, with Nathan Pretty 41 seconds up the road in the lead. The order has been almost completely static for a couple of hours – as Australia tie the scores at 14-14 in the World Cup Final.

The Lamborghini, in seventh place, is still six laps behind the first place Monaro – the same gap as when the car resumed after its puncture / brake line damage delay. Paul Stokell is currently at the wheel, and in the 2:21s. Will Power is just as quick in the recovering 888 Porsche.

The Mosler has lost its radio, and Heather Spurle is called in – to complete her long stint, Shorty then taking over, to stat a double stint.

Hour Eight Positions
1. 427 Monaro 164 laps
2. 05 Monaro
3. 48 Ferrari 163 laps
4. 54 Porsche 162 laps
5. 7 Porsche
6. 6 Porsche 160 laps
7 . 20 Lamborghini 158 laps
8 . 900 Mosler 157 laps
9. 70 Porsche 154 laps
10. 8 Porsche 153 laps
11. 11 BMW 150 laps
12. 27 BMW 147 laps

19. 24 Porsche 141 laps.

Hour 9 – Lambo Trouble
Half way through the ninth hour, the Lamborghini stops, to cure a misfire. “We were 10% down on power,” says Mark Coffey, “and we were five laps down, not six. Peter Hackett knows the car but not the circuit, so we’ll try and do eight hours each with Paul (Stokell), Luke (Youlden) and Allan (Simonsen).”

But the stop went on and on – 25 minutes and growing. Five laps down became 18, and the Lamborghini lost out to the 888 Porsche just on nine hours.

Oh, England has won the World Cup. “A bit of a hard hat job now that we’ve won,” said a cheerful Graham Nash. “Did you see Tommy’s times? 2:19 with a standard, spare boggo engine. The only problem we’ve had is a broken radio switch.”

His Porsche didn’t gain a place with the Lambo’s delay, because it was passed by the Kawasaki Porsche. Ian Donaldson took over from Peter Floyd at 10.30, and the green 911 had its first set of fresh Dunlops for five hours – and they still looked good after all that time. Floyd got down into the 21s, thanks to “following a quicker car through the holes in the traffic.”

We’ll ease back on hourly positions, as they’re fairly static. It’s cool out there, but still absolutely dry.

Hour 10 – Here We Go Again
Just after 23.00, Short and Brock are the fastest men on the track, both in the 2:18s. Someone must have been on the radio – does it work now? – to tell Short that England won the World Cup. He then set a 2:17.441.

23.25: a few spots of rain. Shame that, Lordy has only just dried out.

The top six is amazingly static – and has been since the fourth hour, apart from the Monaros occasionally changing positions at the front. That is Holden – Holden – BE Ferrari – Falken Porsche – VIP Pet Foods Porsche – Alzen Porsche. British entries are now seventh, eighth and ninth …. Rollcentre Mosler – Kawasaki Porsche – GNM Porsche.

23.30: heavy rain, heading towards torrential .. .again. It always sounds heavy from here, because there’s a tin roof just outside the open door of the press room.

Good news, the Lamborghini is rolling again, just in time to get a good wash. There’s a river flowing down from the Mountain again. No sign of the SC yet….

The 24 Cirtek Porsche has moved up from 32nd at six hours to 14th approaching ten hours in.

The Monaros are coping with the horrendous weather rather better than the BE Ferrari, and the gap suddenly becomes two laps – as the SC goes out again. This could be a long one. It’s the fifth of the race.

Time for a chat with Ross Palmer. “It would be nice to see one of the new Ford GT40s here next year….”

“Have you seen my Honda S2000 out there, with the green light underneath?”

“Did you know that Morgan is the first company to embrace Formula Green? David Dowse tells me that for every ash tree that’s felled to make the chassis, six more are planted. They’re going to sign up to the whole concept.”

Hour 11 – Starts Under The SC
Mike Newton aquaplaned off in the GNM Porsche at about the time the SC was deployed, and pitted for front end repairs. The Mosler has pitted for more windscreen repairs.

00.15: The rain has eased off, and it looks as though we’re going racing again. Lordy has been taking some amazing rain shots: a gallery in due course.

The Lamborghini is 32 laps down, in 20th place. The GNM 911 has dropped behind the recovering 24 Cirtek Porsche of Tim Harvey, Jonathan Rowland etc.

Hour 12 – Losing The Plot Somewhat
That Ross Palmer – telling Jack Brabham stories and distracting us from the race….

A dry line appearing. One significant event to do with the otherwise immaculately reliable no. 7 VIP Porsche – a misfire as the fuel filter was restricting fuel flow. The Alzen Porsche moved past as a result – into fifth overall.

The gaps are opening up at the front – a least behind the Monaros. Paul Morris told Tony Whitlock of racefax ("Australia's Fastest Motor Racing Newspaper") that the 54 Falken Porsche was losing four seconds per lap in the rain, because of the lights. The leading Porsche is therefore three laps down on the BE Ferrari at halfway.

The GNM Porsche was taken off to the TAFE University team, to have the chassis / subframe straightened, after Newton’s off. If the repair can be completed, the car will return to complete the race.

Hour Twelve Positions
1. 05 Monaro 253 laps
2. 427 Monaro 252 laps
3. 48 Ferrari 250 laps
4. 54 Porsche 247 laps
5. 6 Porsche 246 laps
6. 7 Porsche 245 laps
7 . 900 Mosler 243 laps
8. 8 Porsche 234 laps
9. 888 Porsche 228 laps
10. 11 BMW 228 laps
11. 24 Porsche 224 laps
12. 71 BMW (D) 224 laps.


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