Lynton BMW leads after wild first half of Bathurst 6 Hour
The Beric Lynton/Tim Leahey/Will Davison BMW M3 leads at the halfway point of what has been a fascinating Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour.
After the initial attempt to start was waved off due to the rear of the field falling behind, the 59-strong field safely negotiated Hell Corner and set off on a 40-minute green flag run.
Jayden Ojeda was the star of the early running in the BMW M4 he shares with Simon Hodges, putting a bold move on Anton De Pasquale’s M4 co-driven by Anthony Soole and Adam Burgess on the second racing lap at The Chase.
Ojeda then put a 10 second gap on the Supercars star before the first safety car of the day was called 40 minutes into the race on lap 12.
The Class A2 Mercedes-AMG C 63 driven by Tony Levitt crashed heavily on the run to McPhillamy Park, hitting both the outside and inside walls, denying co-driver Mark Griffith the chance to drive any laps today.
Levitt was checked by the medical team and has since been taken to hospital for precautionary scans.
The next safety car came soon after, when the Class A1 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X of Hadrian Morrall and the fellow A1 runner Ben Wilkinson in a BMW M135 made contact at Hell Corner, leaving the Wilkinson/Chris O’Brien BMW beached, and the Morrall/Tyler Mecklem Evo heavily damaged.
The Class D Toyota 86 driven by Christoph Heiniger was the next to find trouble, kissing the wall on the exit of Forrests Elbow on lap 28, almost collecting the front-running Soole/Burgess/De Pasquale as it rebounded across the track.
The Class A2 Ford Mustang Mach 1 driven by Jason Gommersall then stopped at Hell Corner with an apparent driveline failure minutes later, with the safety car called upon for the third time today on lap 30 to retrieve both cars.
Marcos Ambrose led at the restart in his Class A2 Ford Mustang GT, and looked comfortable leading for several laps before being hauled in by Drew Russell in the Go-Karts-Go BMW M3 from Class X.
That was as good as it would get for the Ambrose/George Miedecke/Tim Brook Mustang, as gearbox failure forced them into retirement just past the two hour mark.
The car was retired during the fourth safety car period of the day, triggered by Brianna Wilson putting the Class A1 Subaru WRX STI into the tyre wall at Griffins Bend on lap 38.
The safety car was back out within two laps as first the Class B1 BMW 335i driven by Matt Harris parked at Murray’s Corner with smoke pouring from the rear, whilst the Class C Volkswagen Scirocco went into the fence at The Grate and parked in the McPhillamy Park gravel trap with Patrick Navin at the helm.
One of the lead contenders in Class X has also struck dramas, with the BMW M4 of Karl Begg/David Russell/Robert Gooley currently in pit lane with fuel pressure dramas.
The Speedcafe entry had worked its way into a strong strategic position, having completed five of its six compulsory pit stops, and leaving Erebus Motorsport endurance co-driver David Russell with more than three hours of his maximum total driver time to use in the second half of the race.
As of lap 56, the top three both outright and in Class X are all BMW’s and are separated by 2.5 seconds.
The trio is led by the Lynton/Leahey/Davison BMW M3, followed by the Grant Sherrin/Iain Sherrin BMW M4, with the Ben Kavich/Michael Kavich/Thomas Randle BMW M2 Competition rounding out the top three.
In 8th outright is the Class A1 leader, which is the Mike Sheargold/Dylan O’Keeffe/Brett Hobson Mercedes-AMG A 45.
They are followed by the Chris Delfsma/Ryan Casha/Rylan Grey Ford Mustang GT that leads Class A2 in 9th outright.
Class C is being led by the Jake Camilleri/Scott Nicholas Mazda 3 MPS that is running in 21st outright and has been the fastest car in class all weekend.
Right behind in 22nd outright are Class D leaders Murray Dowsett/Mitchell Maddren/Lachlan Bloxsom in the Toyota 86 GTS that started from the class pole.
The Class B1 leader is 23rd in what has become a battle of attrition, with the BMW 135i driven by Scott Turner/Jordan Cox/Rob Rubis working their way from the rear of the grid after being disqualified from qualifying for a boost irregularity.
Class B2 is being led by the Holden SSV 6.0 crewed by Brent Edwards/Cody McKay/Bradley McDonald and sitting in 25th outright.
And Class E leaders Phil Alexander/Stephen Doorey/Shane Fowler are in 36th outright in their Mazda 3 SP25.