What a day. There is absolutely no other way to describe this year’s Bathurst 1000.
In a roller coaster race that saw more safety car periods than we could count, an hour’s break over lunchtime to repair the track and two epic comebacks from the No.1 Holden Commodore, Red Bull Racing Australia ultimately finished 5th and 10th, Jamie crossing the line ahead of his team-mate Lowndesy.
The word “crossing” is a loose way of putting it. Having led the majority of the last lap, JDub’s car spluttered to a halt with no fuel inches before the line and crawled to the chequered flag.
“What a race,” Jamie said afterwards. “We started at the back, got to the front, went to the back and got to the front again, but ran out of fuel on the very last lap. Hopefully it was entertaining for the crowds and I gave it my absolute all like I always do.”
After a weekend that saw the championship leader crash out in qualifying and start today’s race from 23rd, for Jamie and PD to make two epic comebacks during the race – once at the start from the rear of the field and another after a drive through penalty for an unsafe re-entry which saw them go a lap down – was an incredible feat.
“It looks like I didn’t manage the fuel like I needed to but I did the best I could, there wasn’t much more left to do. I knew I was in trouble when we hit the pot earlier than expected. I got a number to stick to and I thought I was doing pretty well, but it didn’t work out that way.
“I did what I could today and it didn’t pay off but we’re hoping next time it will.”
Craig and Richo drove a fantastically consistent race, despite a wheel nut issue early on, but unfortunately while battling for the lead in the dying laps Lowndesy made contact with Mark Winterbottom, who’d run wide, and was dealt a drive-through penalty.
“We had our highs and lows today,” Craig said. “We had an issue early on with a cross-threaded nut but that wasn’t so bad, losing us about thirteen seconds. The car wasn’t too fast at that stage but we were hoping that it would come to and it did.
“With all of the safety cars, our strategy, like everyone else, was all over the place and we decided to make a splash and dash at the end but there was a lot of sun glare and I made a mistake and tapped the back of Frosty and got a drive through penalty for it.
“It’s a pity about Jamie, he deserved to win it and of course they had their ups and downs as well, but they just didn’t make that last few hundred metres. It was a disappointing end to a day that should have been. We move on from now, we know we have good car pace and we’re encouraged by that.”
At the end of one of the most eventful Bathurst weeks in history, Jamie comes out still leading the championship on 2,547 points and Craig is now third on 2,208. Next stop, the Gold Coast 600.