Luke Searle and Paul Morris wins the 2017 Hi-Tec Oil Bathurst 6 Hour, but kiwi Craig Baird’s Mercedes goes up in a fireball in dying stages of the race following a massive engine failure. Morris becomes the first driver ever to win Bathurst 1000, Bathurst 12 Hour and Bathurst 6 Hour.
CLICK HERE to read what happened in the first half of the race,
The racing resumed just after the halfway mark ticked over, with Leahey leading from Antunes then the #31 Renault has gone around again at the Dipper causing back-to-back safety cars.
It’s back to green with Paul Morris in the lead and 2 hours 40mins left on the clock. Race control confirms the #46 Karl Reindler entry gets another black flag with the leading I class, #23 Bradley Zacka also got a black flag for a restart infringement.
In a surprise twist, the #77 Nissan Pulsar who had a blown engine early in the race, rejoins the race after replacing the engine. At the 3 hour and 33-minute mark, Jacob Matthews lost it at the entrance to the chase which makes the CXC team day to get even worse.
Matthews stranded car at the chase triggers another safety car period. Morris pitted from second place and claiming he is probably the only car which can go to the end with one stop remaining.
“We think we can get home from here with one more stop, and we don’t think anyone else can,” says Paul Morris. “Luke will stay in the car. He can get up on the wheel like we saw in qualifying.”
Anthony Loscialpo slows at the exit of the chase and tries to pit but with the leading car blocking the pit entry for the slowing car. Loscialpo came to a halt and brings out a ninth safety car period.
With less than two hours remaining, the dominant car of the weekend (#18 Sherrin) has gotten back on the lead lap after issues early in the race putting them three laps down.
The racing resumes with the Walden/Baird Mercedes in the race lead. The former race leader Jim Pollicina receives a black flag for a safety car restart infringement which seems pretty common this year.
Then more dramas hit the Sherrin Rental BMW has their front right tyre smoking heavily as they head up Mountain straight which looks like a left front puncture. They limp back to the pits after driving their car back into the top nine.
In what many would say is the most critical moment of the race as Mostert pits just as the safety car was called for a car stopped on track.
The race went back to green with Mark Eddy in the lead with one more stop to do but the actual battle for the win is down to Mostert, Searle, Padayachee, and Baird with effective fifth-place Karl Reindler not far behind with less than an hour remaining.
Eddy finally pits out of the lead, Mostert takes over at the front, Reindler puts a sensational move on Baird at the Cutting, but contact has seen a tyre down on Reindler’s EVO.
In the final 30-minutes, Searle is all over the back of Mostert forcing the Ford Focus to go super defensive. Then suddenly fourth place Craig Baird just exploded and became a huge fireball after a massive engine failure on the front straight.
After that safety car period, Mostert tries to hold off the charging Searle in the BMW for the win but with four minutes to go Searle passes Mostert for the lead.
A1: Luke Searle – #62 BMW M135i Hatch F20
A2: Scott Bargwanna – #53 Holden VY-HSV GTS
B1: Jack Perkins – #11 BMW 335i E92
B2: Brian Walden – #24 Holden VE SSV-Redline
C: Robert Rubis – #40 BMW 130i E87
D: Christopher Reeves – #3 Toyota 86 GTS ZN SER
I: Michael Zacka – #23 Ford Falcon AU