Audi Sport Team WRT has won the Bathurst 12 Hour after an incident packed day at Mount Panorama.
The WRT Audi crew of Englishman Stuart Leonard, German Dries Vanthoor and Dutch driver Rob Frijns were deemed winners after organisers declared the race some five minutes short of the 12 hours.
The race effectively ended 15 minutes earlier after a catastrophic three-car crash on top of the Mountain.
Ash Walsh’s Audi collided with Bryce Fullwood’s MARC Focus and was then hit heavily by John Martin’s Mercedes.
Last year’s winner Jamie Whincup was second at the wheel of the Mercedes he shared with expatriate Australian Kenny Habul, Tristan Vautier and Raffaele Marchiello.
The race was declared with 271 laps run, the result being taken from the lap prior to the crash. At the time Frijns led Whincup by less than a second.
Most of the front running teams had gambled on fuel strategy towards the end, with the possibility that some or even all of them would have required a late-race fuel stop.
I was pushing hard but trying to save as much fuel as I could,” said Frijns. “We didn’t expect to win. We had a lot of issues before the race and early on, and sometimes we were almost a lap down.”
Whincup said he couldn’t have been happier with the result.
I’m a believer in the team that does the best job should win – and they deserved to win. We were tight on fuel, but what’s Bathurst without a fuel race at the end!”
Filling third was the American entered Black Swan Racing Porsche of Tim Pappas, Germans Luca Stolz and Marc Lieb, and Dutchman Jeroen Bleekemolen. Amateur driver Pappas was overjoyed with the result in his first appearance at Bathurst, declaring the Mount Panorama circuit to be 'the Monaco of the outback'.