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Grip : GRIP February 2013
BATHURST 12 HOUR GRIP WRX STI SETS PACE AT BATHURST CONTACT GRIP Editor By Dean Herridge WELL. So close, yet so far... as they say “that’s motorspor t”. If I had a dollar for every time we or someone else has used that quote in the last few days, I could fund next year’s event! The 2013 Bathurst 12 Hour attracted the biggest field in history and also some of the biggest names in the world of motorsport. It is a fantastic event to be involved in and was cer tainly full of thrills and spills from beginning to end. The car was great from the first practice laps on Friday. I completed the first session, making sure that the car was set up correctly and didn’t require too many changes to accommodate the slick tyres we had to run. In actual fact, the Pirelli tyres, coupled with the STI, were a perfect match and we had no problem with the handling or feel of the car at all – this really allowed us to just work on gaining data on wear rates of the tyres and the conditions. In my first practise we were able to pump out a sub two minute 30 second lap, which would make it the fastest lap for a production based Subaru at Bathurst ever. This also meant we were the fastest Production Car of the day. Saturday is all about qualifying. There is one 90 minute session in the morning and a 30 minute session in the afternoon. Our plan was to have all drivers run in the first session and then prep the car during the break, and just use the shorter session asa“runin”forthecarto start on Sunday. My team- mates, John O’Dowd and Angus Kennard, ran first and both battled the traffic to post solid times. I ran late in the session and wasn’t able to quite get a clear lap to gain pole for production – wemisseditbyhalfa second. The team worked flat out to change many components during the break so we could shake the car down in the last session and make sure it was good to go on race day. Things like wheel hubs, bearings, brake rotors, pads, driveshafts and lubricants were all changed to make sure that the car was given the best chance to finish the 12 hours with no problems. Because we were only to use the 30 minute session as a shakedown and check, I was the only driver out in this session. I was also to “road” another set of slicks for Sunday. On the new tyres and brakes the car felt fantastic and I knew that even with a full tank of fuel we could post the pole lap if we tried. I did radio the team and asked them if they wanted metogoforit!Thereply– NO, just run everything in and park it up. Which was the correct answer as we were aiming for number one on Sunday arvo, not qualifying! However, it’s hard not to attack the track with a car that feels that good. So, really, we had the best lead up you could ask for - everything was set and ready for 12 hours at the mountain. On race day it’s an early start for everyone. Team at the track for 05:30 and the car ready to start on the green flag at 07:00. John was elected to start the event for us, and he did a great job and even avoided a tricky situation heading onto the Conrod Straight as there had been a multi-car crash. The only damage was to both front and rear driver doors where a Ford pitched sideways into John. Lucky for us it was only cosmetic damage and the doors at least still opened during the subsequent pit stops. Angus was next in, followed by me – all the pit stops were going well, the team working great together and, of course, we were having no issues with the car. We were second when Angus came in to hand over to me, and during the stop we actually leap-frogged the BMW to take the lead of production. A couple of laps later their engine expired and our main competitors were gone. We now had a three-lap lead and things were looking good. After my first run, John and Angus continued with their stints and did a great job and produced consistent laps. The weather was expected to come in later in the afternoon, so we decided to keep my hours down so that I could complete the majority of the wet running if the rain arrived. Angus completed a double stint and then John was back in the seat. Our lead grew to five laps in this time and all was going well until late into hour six. John was at the top of the mountain and came across a Nissan GT-R with a puncture. With cars everywhere, John had a Porsche make contact with him and turn him into the fence at 130km/h. The resultant damage meant we were out. For tunately, John was okay, despite the big impact. Obviously we are all disappointed that we weren’t able to take the win this year, however I am hugely proud of the whole team - John, Angus and particularly our Subaru STI as it punches above its weight and has a great amount of suppor t at the mountain. Maybe 2014 will be the year? INSIDE GRIP HOME PAGE DEALERSHIPS RETAILER OF THE YEAR 40 YEARS OF SUBARU PRODUCT NEWS AFTERSALES FLEET TRENDS DEALER STATS SPORT
GRIP January 2013
GRIP March 2013