Audi Race Experience Team Joest secures 1-2 Bathurst 12 Hour finish.

O'Young/Lowndes take 1-2 finish for Audi Race Experience Team Joest on Bathurst 12 Hour debut. - Image Courtesy Audi Motorsport

The inaugural running of the overhauled Bathurst 12 Hour event concluded late Sunday afternoon and, despite initial negativity from the event’s touring car stalwarts, the mixed field of 27 GT and Touring competitors failed to disappoint.

With many fans claiming this year’s rendition of the event was ‘the best so far’, the subsequent influx of praise received from both local and global viewers is as good a sign as any event organisers may have struck the note its audience believe is worth expanding on.

Without the support and presence of Audi Race Experience Team Joest, the inaugural running of the overhauled event could arguably have turned out much differently.

After rounding out their 2010 season with a second-placed finish at the emerging Sepang 12 Hour event in Malaysia, the German squad, based in Odenwald, had committed two entries in the lead up the event and, like most factory outfits, brought with it an entourage of drivers and crew personnel, along with an armory of equipment and famous AudiSport hospitality for their Bathurst debut.

Although arriving at the event with what can be considered a venerable arsenal of driving talent in the crew of Mies, Basseng, O’Young, Lowndes, Luff and Eddy, the outfit faced a battle against both time and preparation.

Despite Joest’s factory driver contingent (Mies/Basseng/O’Young) having never driven the circuit, and Australian drivers Lowndes and Luff having never tested the R8 LMS GT3 before the event’s first practice session, the already seasoned Joest squad faced little difficulty acclimatising  to their surroundings.

The team managed to achieve fastest times in both practice and qualifying sessions. Due to the abstract qualifying format used by event organisers to determine qualifying times (aggregated times) the #7 entry of Lowndes/Luff/Eddy secured outright pole, followed closely by the #8 sister entry of Basseng/Mies/O’Young taking second on the grid, leaving a gaggle of Porsche entries in their wake, lead by the #29 VIP PetFoods GT3-R entry of Craig Baird and Tony/Klark Quinn. The #29 would later be revealed as the sole thorn in the side of Joest’s efforts throughout the race.

Joest's pair of R8 LMS entries lead the field into turn one. - Image courtesy GraphicDakPhotos / Dirk Klynsmith

Joest's pair of R8 LMS entries lead the field into turn one. - Image courtesy GraphicDakPhotos / Dirk Klynsmith

Commencing at 6.15am local time (AEDST), both Joest entries soared to an early lead as many had expected. With the #7 car of Lowndes leading the field during the opening laps of the event before yielding to Basseng in the #8 sister car. Both drivers would run single stints on their first outing.

Joest would opt to return Lowndes and Basseng to pitlane for driver changes early during the second hour, ceding driving duties to Luff and Mies in what would later turn out to be a mammoth opening stint of over two hours for both drivers.

The opening stint for Mies and Luff saw both drivers adapt to their surroundings early, as anticipated. The duo often turning times seconds faster than their closest competitors.

Both Mies/Luff would achieve fastest overall times during the later stages of their stints. The 21 year old German and 2009 FIA-GT3 champion, Mies particularly impressing with his consistently aggressive driving style.

Audis #7/8 traverse the downhill esses in tandem; A scene repeated throughout much of the 12 Hour race. - Image courtesy AusMotive.com

Audis #7/8 traverse the downhill esses in tandem; A scene repeated throughout much of the 12 Hour race. - Image courtesy AusMotive.com

Mies and Luff would later pass control to Canadian ace, Darryl O’Young and Penfold AudiSport team owner, Mark Eddy, in their respective entries to complete the final change of hands in the first cycle of driver changes.

The event now in it’s fourth hour, the #8 of O’Young continued in the lead with Eddy in its wake. With the VIP GT3R entry of Baird in rapid pursuit, Eddy would later relinquish second position, allowing the 41-year old New Zealand national and local Porsche Motorsport stalwart to pursue the leading sister car of O’Young.

Despite O’Young still possessing a commanding lead, the VIP Porsche GT3R of Baird was able to gain significant ground on the Cananadian as both time, and double-stinted tyres wore on.

Baird was later able to capitalise on Joest’s rigidly defined pit strategy, placing the #29 in the overall lead. This pattern of changes would continue for much of the race.

HallMarc Racing engineers work feverishly to repair damage sustained to their #12 GT3 Cup S entry. - Image courtesy Bathurst 12 Hour.

HallMarc Racing engineers work feverishly to repair damage sustained to their #12 GT3 Cup S entry. - Image courtesy Bathurst 12 Hour.

The closing hours of the event saw tension rise across the paddock as several teams aimed to secure well-placed finishes or, in some cases maintain an on-track presence, in the case of both Freestone Corvette and EagleOne Lotus squads.

British GT regulars Lester/Simonsen experienced their fair share of misfortune throughout the day, encountering difficulties with their F430 entry on several occasions.

Racing incidents also plagued the efforts of locally entered contenders SupaBarn and  Hallmarc Racing. With the #69 SupaBarn Porsche GT3 Cup S entry of J.Koundouris/T.Koundouris, and V8SC regular Steve Owen experiencing an early race altercation amongst several other incidents throughout the course of the 12 hour event.

The #12 HallMarc entry of local professionals Cini/Reynolds/Fiore suffered issues on multiple occasions throughout the race, including tyre blowouts and, during the later stages of the event, a race ending shunt on the hill-top section of the circuit known as ‘Skyline.’

Although remaining on the lead lap for over eleven hours and sharing the overall lead on occasion, the efforts of the #29 VIP GT3R entry would ultimately be undone as a result of an unfortunate oversight on the team’s behalf.

Craig Baird positions the VIP PetFoods GT3R for a downhill descent through the esses. - Image courtesy GraphicDakPhotos / Dirk Klynsmith

Craig Baird positions the VIP PetFoods GT3R for a downhill descent through the esses. - Image courtesy GraphicDakPhotos / Dirk Klynsmith

Having not served mandatory pit requirements (minimum of 12x 90sec+ stops for 2010+ GT3-spec machinery) the team would be forced to complete a final stop before taking the flag. The stop leading to the loss of a single lap against both Joest entries. Despite this, #29 VIP PetFoods squad would go on to round out a valiant effort by securing a well deserved third.

Following fault-free outings from both Eddy/Luff in the #7, and the #8 crew of Basseng/Mies, Joest delegated driving duties to Lowndes and O’Young for the closing stages of the race. During the final change over stop both Audis entered pitlane in 1-2 tandem, with Mies having maintained the lead up until the final stop.

After what had been a near infallible showing, O’Young would be cleared for exit before the sister car, with Lowndes now seated at the helm and, in an unfortunate turn of events vaguely reminiscent of Minassian’s Le Mans 2009 spin (within view of the Peugeot pit and hospitality area), the Canadian driver lost control of the #8, faltering at pitlane exit.

The #8 Joest entry of Mies changes hands to O'Young for the final stint of the race. - Image courtesy Audi Motorsport.

The #8 Joest entry of Mies changes hands to O'Young for the final stint of the race. - Image courtesy Audi Motorsport.

This incident saw Lowndes assume the race lead with less than one hour remaining. During this period, the five-time Bathurst 1000 winner would go on to set not only the fastest lap of the race, but of all sessions combined in the form of a 2:09.0861 (lap 267). Sending a clear message to both his team mates, and primary competition.

At this stage many had assumed the #8 (having served its pit requirements) would cruise to the finish. This however, would not be the case. With only fifteen minutes remaining, O’Young would be required to take more fuel in order to see the checkered.

Entering pitlane with only a 50sec margin over the #7 sister car, the #8 crew could spare only minimal time refueling. Fortunately for O’Young, this would prove to be a sufficient margin. Allowing the Canadian to re-enter the race with a ten second margin still in hand.

With less then ten minutes and the race more or less decided, both entries began winding down the remaining laps toward the checkered. As is customary for such finishes, O’Young and Lowndes assembled for a factory formation cruise to the checkered flag.

The victory not only marking Audi’s entry to the winners circle on their Bathurst debut, but as the first winners under new regulations. Etching another milestone to the marque’s already impressive list of achievements and laying down the gauntlet for potential vying manufacturers in future years.

The Joest driving crew of Mies, Basseng, O'Young, Luff, Lowndes, and Eddy celebrate following the podium presentation. - Image courtesy AusMotive.com

The Joest driving crew of Mies, Basseng, O'Young, Luff, Lowndes, and Eddy celebrate their 1-2 victory. - Image courtesy AusMotive.com

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ALMS: Round04 Miller Results (Final).

ALMS Logo

Final result listings for round four of the 2010 ALMS series can be seen below.

Pos. No. Cat. Drivers No. Laps Diff. Total Time Best time Make
1 1 P Brabham/ Pagenaud 91 2:45:43.162 1:36.482 HPD ARX 01c
2 8 P Cocker/ Pirro 91 19.116 2:46:02.278 1:36.291 Lola B09 60
3 6 P Pickett/   Graf 91 1:30.374 2:47:13.536 1:36.558 Porsche RS Spyder
4 37 P J. Field/     C. Field 88 3 Laps 2:47:12.417 1:37.379 Lola B06 10
5 55 PC Tucker/ Bouchut 86 5 Laps 2:46:52.423 1:45.170 Oreca FLM09*
6 99 PC Jeanette/ Zugel 85 6 Laps 2:46:02.126 1:43.881 Oreca FLM09
7 52 PC Figge/   Hyatt 85 6 Laps 2:46:02.126 1:43.881 Oreca FLM09
8 95 PC Tucker/ Wallace 85 6 Laps 2:47:05.272 1:45.868 Oreca FLM09
9 62 GT Melo/Bruni 85 6 Laps 2:47:12.299 1:48.756 Ferrari 430 GT
10 92 GT Auberlen/ Milner 85 6 Laps 2:47:33.478 1:48.937 BMW M3 GT
11 3 GT Magnussen/ O’Connell 84 7 Laps 2:46:05.056 1:49.244 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
12 90 GT Mueller/ Hand 84 7 Laps 2:46:11.695 1:48.937 BMW M3 GT
13 45 GT Bergmeister/Long 84 7 Laps 2:46:14.842 1:48.787 Porsche 911 RSR
14 61 GT Fisichella/ Vilander 84 7 Laps 2:46:28.464 1:48.977 Ferrari 430 GT
15 01 GT Sharp/ Van Overbeek 83 8 Laps 2:46:31.610 1:48.677 Ferrari 430 GT
16 02 GT Brown/ Cosmo 83 8 Laps 2:47:04.837 1:49.944 Ferrari 430 GT
17 17 GT Sellers/ Henzler 83 8 Laps 2:47:32.639 1:49.901 Porsche 911 RSR
18 12 P Willman/ Burgess 82 9 Laps 2:47:00.705 1:40.970 Lola B06 10
19 4 GT Beretta/ Gavin 82 9 Laps 2:47:23.430 1:48.801 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
20 44 GT Law/ Neiman 81 10 Laps 2:45:51.873 1:50.281 Porsche 911 RSR
21 54 GTC Pappas/ Bleekemolen 80 11 Laps 2:46:39.628 1:54.717 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
22 63 GTC Richard/ Lally 80 11 Laps 2:47:37.581 1:55.612 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
23 69 GTC Rodriguez/ Bieker 79 12 Laps 2:45:51.699 1:56.140 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
24 88 GTC Lewis/Vento 79 12 Laps 2:46:00.724 1:56.516 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
25 48 GTC Miller/Hines 78 13 Laps 2:46:43.478 1:54.434 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
26 28 GTC Beggs/ Baron 78 13 Laps 2:46:53.195 1:57.975 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
27 40 GT D. Robertson/ A. Robertson/ Murry 78 13 Laps 2:47:27.043 1:51.399 Doran Ford GT-R
28 32 GTC Curtis/ Safronas 78 13 Laps 2:47:27.540 1:56.052 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
29 23 GTC Sweedler/ Kapudija 77 14 Laps 2:46:36.283 1:56.642 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
30 166 P Dyson/ Smith 73 18 Laps 2:17:44.701 1:37.220 Lola B09 86 Mazda
31 75 GT Dalziel/ Goossens 57 34 Laps 2:46:13.858 1:53.195 Jaguar XKRS
32 89 PC Marcelli/ Wong 21 70 Laps 45:15.632 1:48.269 Oreca FLM09
33 80 GTC Gonzalez/ Diaz 5 86 Laps 11:22.336 1:59.195 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
34 81 GTC Gonzalez/ Leitzinger Porsche 911 GT3 Cup