SUPERCARS
Sunday, Oct 8 08:27pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Reynolds and Youlden win chaotic Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000

Erebus Motorsport, David Reynolds and Luke Youlden have finally conquered Australia’s greatest race, the 2017 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.


 

In brief:

  • Scott Mclaughlin and Jamie Whincup suffer engine dramas
  • Scott Pye and Warren Luff finish second
  • Kiwi Fabian Coulthard third with Tony D'Alberto
  • Shane van Gisbergen comes back to finish fifth 


Read the full race report below: 


Persistent rain kept the track damp before the race start. Historically co-drivers would start the race, but with the inclement weather approaching a lot of the front runners opted to put their primary driver.


There was nearly drama off the start when Mark Winterbottom tried to squeeze between McLaughling and Reynolds into turn one. McLaughlin was fortunate not to spin, but led up Mountain Straight.


Chaz Mostert rounded up Reynolds on his quest to get McLaughlin, but slotted into second around the outside of turn two.


The conditions were tricky in the early running, and that proved to be the theme of the race. Come lap-three and McLaughlin did the unthinkable. Coming into the final corner the pole sitter looped his Ford Falcon FG X. A quick recovery meant he only dropped to sixth, but the time loss was significant.


The Triple Eight Race Engineering operated cars suffered all day. Craig Lowndes was next off at turn-one, followed by van Gisbergen who went off at turn-seven come lap-five.


An early dry line began to disappear when the rain began falling on the circuit properly.


Fabian Coulthard was the first to pit on lap-15. He swapped seats with Tony D’Alberto.


Despite the off early on, van Gisbergen caught the back of Whincup and Reynolds for second and third. While they battled for the minor places on the podium, Mostert skipped away at the front to establish a 15-second lead.


The Kiwi eliminated himself from the battle on lap-18 when he pitted to swap for Porsche Supercup star Matt Campbell. But his race took a hit when the young gun returned to the race.


Campbell began hemorrhaging positions up Mountain Straight, but the real drama came at the cutting when the Nissan Altima driven by Michael Caruso


Mostert lost handfuls of time during his stop when the car went quiet during the pit stop. Steve Owen jumped in, but unable to get the car in gear he sat idle.


The front runners continued to hit the pit lane. Whincup came in on lap-20 to swap with Paul Dumbrell.


Those who pitted early came under massive pressure from those on worm and warm tyres. Simona de Silvestro gave Dumbrell a run for his money. The Swiss driver tried to get on Dumbrell’s inside at the cutting, but couldn’t get the move done. Later in the lap though, she got him done at Murray’s Corner.


While Dumbrell was struggling, Campbell continued to suffer. He speared off the road at the final corner.


Early race leader Mostert was given a drive through penalty for spinning the rear wheels in his pit stop.  That dropped he and Owen to the back end of the top-10. Fortunately the race was only in its infancy.


After the field round of pit stops cycled through it was Reynolds and Youlden in the lead with McLaughlin/Premat second, Whincup/Dumbrell, Waters/Dumbrell, Moffat/Muscat, Pye/Luff, Courtney/Perkins, Kelly/Wall, Mostert/Owen and Tander/Golding rounding out the top-10.


All of the top-10 had their co-drive in the car, except for Scott Pye.


While leading, both McLaughlin and Mostert had led the race and lost it after making a mistake. Reynolds was impeccable in his run, but Youlden lost time hand over fist when he spun at the final corner. Youlden regathered the car and still led by eight seconds.


Meanwhile, Dumbrell was hustling Premat for second on the road. The Red Bull Holden swept past the Frenchman at the final corner, but couldn’t get away.


While they battled, Richie Stanaway was putting in a legendary stint to haul in the leaders at a rate of four seconds a lap. The Kiwi needn’t try to pass Dumbrell as the Red Bull racer went too deep into the final corner and dropped back to fourth.


Stanaway didn’t even have to try and pass Premat either. In almost identical fashion to Dumbrell, Premat gifter Stanaway second when the Frenchman drifted off at Murray’s Corner.


Shane van Gisbergen’s day got worse by virtue of Campbell’s misendeavours. By lap-33 the young gun had gone off the track five times. While many were the young gun’s fault, Webb hit the back of Campbell in the fifth instance. Webb was later penalised 15-seconds in his next stop.


Youlden’s 14-second lead quickly diminished to a few tenths. By lap-36 the Kiwi was right on his trans-tasman rival for the lead. Into the Chase, Stanaway launched to Youlden’s inside. The pair went side-by-side out of the left hander, through the quick flick right and down to Murray’s Corner.


Stanaway looked to hang his car around the outside, instead, he locked up and took to the escape road. He lost seven seconds in the spin, but quickly got the margin back. Three laps later and the Kiwi was on Youlden’s bumper.


Stanaway got the lap at the line come lap-41 and immediately created a buffer. Just a few tenths turned into 15-seconds come lap-49 when he came in for his second pit stop.


There was drama for the McLaughlin/Premat car, which began to develop an engine drama. A suspected broken header made the car sounds sick, but his times weren’t dropping enough to justify coming in. Compounding the issue were some near misses with the wall through the Esses.


Lap-50 to lap-100:


The no. 17 came into the lane on lap-52 for a splash-and-dash as well as an opportunity to check the status of the car. The troubles weren’t resolved and Premat continued to lose time.


Just five laps later Premat was back in the pit lane to diagnose the issue. The car was turned off, repowered and sent away. The car returned to the circuit, but didn’t sound any better on the run up Mountain Straight.

 

Stanaway battled traffic through his first stint and eventually came in on lap-67 to swap seats with Waters. Having made such a big lead, Waters returned to the track in second behind Reynolds.


Red Bull racer van Gisbergen was a man on a mission. He unlapped himself having got back past Waters after Campbell’s misdemeanours.


Waters’ speed wasn’t matching that of Stanaway before him. So much so that Garry Jacobsen in the sister Prodrive Racing Falcon got past the no. 6 Monster Falcon.


As the halfway point of the race approached, it seemed the McLaughlin/Premat Falcon might have gotten away with their issues. However, they came back to bite them on lap-76.


In the space of less than 24 hours the Shell V-Power Racing duo went from jubilant to despondent. On the run up Mountain Straight, the engine of their Falcon failed. Oil spewed from the back and in the space of less than half the race their day was done.


The first safety car of the day subsequently came out and the field pitted. It was the perfect timing for a lot of those towards the back of the pack who got their lap back.


First through 24th got back to the lead lap and the race restarted with Waters at the front of the field. Waters established a gap to teammate Mostert at the green flag, but that quickly came down as the race hit the halfway mark.


Mostert and Waters traded punches, but the Supercheap Auto Falcon prevailed come lap-82 at McPhillamy Park in a bold move around the outside.


Skippy’s annual appearance at Mount Panorama came on lap-88. The safety car was subsequently brought out while the rogue kangaroo was attended to.


Another round of pit stops saw Mostert jump out and Owen jump in to complete his minimum amount of laps.


The restart on lap-90 saw Jack Perkins leading, but still to make another pit stop. Owen backed up the field, which allowed Perkins, Heimgartner and Waters to skip away.


Waters slipped down the inside of Slade at McPhillamy Park over the rise, a place not usually fit for passing, let alone in the rain.


Lap-101 to lap-161:


The final stanza of the race began with Campbell pitting to put van Gisbergen back in the hot seat for the remainder of the race. Like many before him, van Gisbergen went skating through the grass on cold tyres.


Despite clouds covering the top of the mountain, times began to drop at the front of the field taking them near those set earlier in the race.


Lap-114 brought Waters back into the pit lane to swap with Stanaway. The other leading drivers followed suit for their penultimate pit stops.


Early race leader Reynolds battled hard to hold off Courtney after his latest pit stop. A lot of the front runners were out of sequence with van Gisbergen and Slade yet to make their stops.


With 40-laps to go there was drama for championship contender Whincup who retired to the pit lane. It was a god send for McLaughlin, who likely would have surrendered much of his points lead. It was later discovered the engine had a rocker issue.


The Red Bull racer began setting purple boxes on his way to catching Stanaway in the lead. Soon after catching the Ford the safety car was called for a rock at the top of Brock’s Skyline.


With little to lose, Slade, Percat, de Silvestro and Caruso opted to jump onto slick tyres. Come restart three, Stanaway led the field into turn one. While Slade looked alright on the slick tyre, Slade stepped up to eighth.


Mostert began pressuring Stanaway for the lead on lap-125. The Australian got the move done at Murray’s Corner. Meanwhile, Moffat looked on in third. Stanaway forfeited second with his tyres seemingly fading.


Stanaway continued to surrender time as van Gisbergen began catching the Falcon with 32-laps to go. The Kiwi compatriots engaged in a fierce battle for third on the road approaching the final pit stop.


Lap-131, an Stanaway gave van Gisbergen a free kick when he went wide at Murray’s Corner.


The pivotal moment came when Percat delivered the fastest lap of the race on a 2:20.619 with slick tyres. A flurry of pit stops came shortly after. Stanaway pitted after the melee for a new set of slicks. Waters jumped in for Stanaway, but they still needed another splash-and-dash.


Waters looked to be struggling with getting his tyres up to temperature. Under pressure from Rick Kelly, Waters got sideways out of Forest’s Elbow.


The pair went side-by-side down Conrod Straight. Approaching the kink, Water clipped the kerb, but Kelly got wide on the wet side of the circuit and off into the grass. The Nissan racer went skating through the grass and speared into the gravel.


Beached in the gravel, the safety car was called.


Almost all of the front runners took to the pit lane to switch onto slicks.


Come the restart van Gisbergen led the field with Mostert, Moffat, Waters and Percat in tow.


The first major casualty came on lap-138 when podium contender Moffat skated through the gravel at McPhillamy Park and clouted the wall. James Courtney was the next casualty after crashing at Sulman Park.


Waters came into pit with just over 20-laps to go, which suggested the major players don’t have enough fuel to get home.


The drama continued. Mostert went off at The Chase in pursuit of van Gisbergen. Immediately his engineer came over the radio telling him to pit, but the Prodrive Racer didn’t make it in.


Moffat continued to suffer. With 19-laps to go he slammed the yet wall again, but this time at the wall on the run up to McPhillamy Park.


Another rain shower threatened to throw another spanner in the works. The crowds scattered for their umbrellas and ponchos just as the safety car period finished.


With 18-laps remaining, van Gisbergen led the field into the final corner, but the chaos continued. Leading the pack, the Kiwi locked up and spun at the final corner before even reaching the start line.


Tander followed suit and skated through the grass. That handed Percat the lead, but the nuttiness only carried on.


Come turn one, Garth Tander got spun by Mostert, who clipped the back of Tander’s car on the way through. Waters was unlucky to get collected on the way through, clipped the wall, then lost his rear wing.


Meanwhile up Mountain Straight, Reynolds and Percat were buping doors. Reynolds rounded up the Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport driver and took the lead.


Shane van Gisbergen began to haul his way through the field and got past both Coulthard and Wall to crack the top-five. With Percat in his sights, the Kiwi shot down the inside at the Cutting. The gap was smaller than a car width as he clouted the inside wall, but he made it work and got the pass done.


Only a matter of laps earlier Garry Rogers Motorsport had both drivers in the top-10. Moffat got as high as third but he crashed. Tander got up to second, but nearly spun at the final corner. However, the day got worse.


Tander slammed the wall at the cutting and caved in the right hand side, but got back without bringing out another safety car.  


As he continued his charge, van Gisbergen slid across the top of McPhillamy Park in an effort to catch Scott Pye. With a good run out of Forest’s Elbow, van Gibergen tried to go around the outside of Pye. But the move didn’t pay off.


The Kiwi flew threw the gravel and nearly rolled as the car dug into the sand trap. A puncture brought him back to the pit lane and dropped him down the order outside the top-10.

 

An impressive run by Simona de Silvestro and David Russell came to an end after the former IndyCar Series racer spun exiting the final corner.


At lap-156 the race restarted with Reynolds ahead, but Pye sat right up his chuff. The Erebus racer got away from Pye immediately, but not by much.


Nick Percat threw away his podium spot, handing Coulthard the final podium spot.


Reynolds was hauling at the front and went about setting the quickest lap with three to go.


Behind, van Gisbergen continued to push hard. Eventually he got back up to fourth with two laps to go when Winterbottom crashed at Forest’s Elbow.


Come the final lap, Reynolds led by four and a half seconds ahead of Pye and Coulthard.


It was a near perfect final lap for the Erebus Motorsport ace. Coming down Conrod Straight headlights ablaze and with one last application of the brakes Reynolds and Youlden stepped into Australian motor racing folklore.

 
Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 results top-10 (provisional):
1. Reynolds/Youlden  
2. Pye/Luff  
3. Coulthard/D'Alberto  
4. Wood/Pither  
5. van Gisbergen/Campbell  
6. Caruso/Fiore  
7. T Kelly/le Borcq  
8. Bright/Jacobsen  
9. Slade/Heimgartner  
10. Mostert/Owen  

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