SUPERCHEAP AUTO - BATHURST 1000 MEETING AT MT PANORAMA - BRIAN BOYD WRAP-UP OF V8 SUPERCARS
- PAYCE Headquarters, Sydney NSW.
Metal grinding collision sees Scott McLaughlin limp home.
Loads of drama and highs and lows for most teams at this year's Bathurst 1000 – Mr Brian Boyd.
"For the Wilson Security Racing GRM team and the thousands of Volvo fans it was a race that started with high hopes, progressed to an almost certain podium and potential win then abruptly ended in disappointment," said PAYCE's Managing Director, Brian Boyd.
Wild Bathurst 1000 finale dashes hopes after strong run
"With only a handful of laps remaining in the 161 lap race, Scott McLaughlin in the number 33 Volvo had been holding down second place when pushed off the track in the Chase by Jamie Whincup.
"Then, in a chain reaction, Scott became involved in a collision with Garth Tander on returning to the bitumen. In just a few gut-wrenching seconds, Scott was effectively sidelined and eventually limped home to finish 15th.
"I was so disappointed for the team, as the number 33 car had been a top contender from day one and Scotty had done such a good job to get it on the front row of the grid.
"All the pit stops went to plan and the car was in good shape to bring home a great result.
"Those last 20 laps or so were exciting and there were all kinds of strategies being played out.
"The GRM camp was confident number 33 had enough fuel to take it to the end without a top up, so the team was looking at a potential victory or at least a podium finish.
"I'm sure the team will bounce back in the remaining rounds, but it was such a pity to have got so close and to finish the race the way it did," Brian Boyd said.
Thrilling weekend of V8 Supercar racing - Practice and Qualifyers.
The four-day meeting got off to a good start for the team, with Scott immediately on the pace in the first practice on Thursday, posting a fourth fastest time.
James Moffat spent the time working through a program of settings and getting the feel of the Volvo for the first time behind the wheel at the Bathurst track. James finished the one-hour session in 15th place on times and was no doubt happy just to be back in the #34 Volvo after James Golding's Sandown crash.
The second practice of the day was for co-drivers and both David Wall in #33 and James Golding in #34 continued to post good times and reported being comfortable with the cars. The practice was going to plan with both cars in the top ten times until James Golding went wide at Reid Park and gave the wall a solid thump with just seven minutes left in the session.
David finished 9th on times, while James was credited with 13th fastest. Final practice for the day for main drivers saw Scott post 4th fastest and James Moffat a non-starter due to Golding's earlier accident.
Friday's practice 4 saw both cars take to the track, with the #34 Volvo once again fully operational and James Golding keen to put in some track time without incident. Both drivers were content to continue with settings and finished the session midfield on times.
The final session of the day was the last chance to get the cars set before the main race qualifying session later in the day and Scott continued to show good form with another fourth fastest time while James Moffat finished well down on times.
The times between the top teams were very close and everyone was searching for those elusive tenths of a second that could move them significantly up the order.
The 40 minute qualifying session was the last chance to shine as it set the top ten shootout players on Saturday and the final race places from 11th to 27th. With fine weather, all teams threw everything into the last 10 minutes of the session and much to the delight of the Wilson Security Racing GRM team and all its supporters, Scott pushed the #33 Volvo to a second best time, ensuring him a shot at the pole and a guaranteed position at the pointy end of the field on race day. James Moffat's times were a bit disappointing, managing only a 23rd position.
Top 10 shootout comes to a close shaved second.
The eagerly awaited Top 10 Shootout did not disappoint, although the initial runs were down on times from the previous days' practice sessions. Scott was the second last car out and put in a clean lap that took him to the top of the times. With only Whincup to go, fingers were crossed that the team might score their first Bathurst pole, but it was not to be and Scott missed out by a mere seven one-hundredths of a second to Whincup – so close, but the consolation prize was a front row position on the grid, which was in itself a great achievement and a credit to Garry and the GRM team, with all the hard work since Sandown.
Pomp and ceremony as the King of the Mountain rides the parade.
Sunday dawned to a beautiful day with only the slight chance of rain. The drivers' parade is always a crowd favourite and this year the drivers were loaded into a fleet of Mini Mokes to tour the circuit. Preceding the main race there was also a King of the Mountain parade featuring many of the cars that Peter Brock drove at the track and on this occasion piloted by some of the Supercars stars.
With all the formalities completed, it was a great sight to see the #33 Volvo S60 once again sitting on the front row of the grid. This was a repeat of last year's effort and set the scene for a good result, with the lead cars expected to stay away from trouble in the initial frantic laps as the field jockeyed for positions. With the exception of three teams, all teams elected to start their main drivers in contrast to Sandown where all co-drivers did the opening stint.
When the flag dropped, the front runners made a good start and Scott maintained his second place position as the field streamed up Mountain Straight. Unlike many previous years, there were no major incidents in the opening laps and the field settled into a rhythm that resulted in a fairly uneventful race up until the first safety car session. Up until then, positions were changing as the compulsory pit stops commenced and teams started to put their respective strategies into play. Moffat pitted on lap 12 for fuel, tyres and driver change and while that put the car near the rear of the field it was the start of a great run up through the field that saw the #34 car in 6th place and in front of the #33 Volvo by lap 68.
Gremlins on the straight put paid to a fighting chance.
Unfortunately on lap 108, the gremlins struck and #34 had a spectacular blow-up on Conrod Straight that put an end to what was an impressive drive by both James' boys to fight their way through the field.
A series of safety car interventions and pit stops then saw the front positions moving around, with Scott in the #33 Volvo never far from the front and eventually working his way up to second spot and set for a podium finish with just on 11 laps to go. At that stage it was touch and go as to who had enough fuel to see them through to the finish and who was not prepared to gamble but was hoping for a safety car to give them time for a quick splash and dash to the chequered flag.
It was then that the world was turned upside down for Scott and the GRM team, with Scott involved in a heart-shattering incident with Jamie Whincup and Garth Tander that put paid to a great drive and to equally great efforts by co-driver, David Wall and the whole pit crew.
After pitting, car #33 completed the race to finish in 15th place. An incredible disappointment for everyone at GRM and their faithful band of supporters, but one day they will no doubt bounce back from for the next round.
And to the winners – go the spoils.
Brian Boyd said the race winners and winners of the Peter Brock Trophy, Will Davidson and Jonathon Webb, were to be congratulated for a well-deserved effort from a relatively small team.
"Also congratulations to our Team PAYCE's Dunlop Series member, Macauley Jones on his top 10 finish in 10th place for the Brad Jones Racing team."
The third and final round of the Pirtek Enduro Cup is the Castrol Gold Coast 600 on 21-23 October 2016.
Go Team PAYCE!