Gounon leads SunEnergy1 Racing to Bathurst 12 Hour glory

Jules Gounon became the first consecutive Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hours winner in a decade, leading SunEnergy1 Racing into the history books.

Joined by Luca Stolz, Martin Konrad and Kenny Habul, the Frenchman brought home the #75 with 8.7071 in hand as Mercedes-AMG swept the podium.

Audi had completely dominated the first two days of the event, topping every practice session, qualifying and the Top 10 Shootout.

Even after a pre-race performance balance tweak, the Audis arguably retained the upper hand on pure pace, as demonstrated by Kelvin van der Linde by repeatedly setting the fastest laps over the course of two particularly amazing relays.

But a mix of mechanical gremlins, incidents and penalties crippled the seven-pronged Audi contingent, with a faultless all-Mercedes three-horse race entering the final quarter of the race.

In addition to the n°75, the sister n°888 of Mercedes (Shane van Gisbergen/Broc Feeney/Prince Jefri Ibrahim) and the n°91 of Craft-Bamboo Racing (Maro Engel/Daniel Juncadella/Kevin Tse) remained in contention.

Despite missing out on qualifying due to an engine change, the #91 fought its way to the race lead by the halfway point with a daring strategy that saw it complete its nine mandatory pit stops (each requiring a transit time of 120 seconds in the pit lane) within four hours.

In total, the Hong Kong side have pitted a remarkable 21 times, with a grandstand finish set up as Engel chased after Gounon on a double pass under the flag.

Once the penultimate pit cycle broke, Gounon kept a 22-second buffer on Engel, with van Gisbergen a further 17 seconds adrift.

Engel reduced that margin before the final stops, during which the margin was reduced to just eight seconds thanks to cleaner fuel and tire service.

However, the gap held steady from there, with a distinct lack of late incidents to add late drama.

Van Gisbergen was the last of the front three to make his last visit to the lane, sharp at 11 a.m., but faded without the pace to match the leading pair.

Behind it was van der Linde who regularly lit up the timing screens but lost a lap after being dismissed with a two-minute penalty in the ninth hour.

It was prompted by a breach of the 80-minute maximum stint length for an amateur driver, with Brad Schumacher spending 88 minutes in the car on his final run before handing over to Luca Stolz.

This took the #74 Audi away from the lead lap, which could not recover even during the eighth safety car period, with the lucky dog ​​rule not being applied at that time due to the conditions. wet.

The #74 wasn’t the only Audi to be penalized for an error in strategy, with the #777 receiving a 30-second hit for a less serious breach of the same maximum driver stint rule. amateur.

After a chaotic start to proceedings as the prolonged race in darkness was combined with intermittent fog and rain, the second half of the race was much calmer with green flags aplenty.

Shortly after the midpoint, Tony Bates spun and found the wall at Forrest’s Elbow, knocking out the #24 Audi he shared with David Reynolds and Cameron Waters.

Michael Sheargold (#45 Mercedes) was next to break away, at McPhillamy Park, and it was during this safety car intervention that the #4 Grove Racing Porsche, which was in the top five , crashed heavily.

Stephen Grove slipped on a piece of wet tarmac while racing to Skyline.

From there, an intriguing sprint evolved.

But despite Engel’s best efforts, he failed to convince Gounon, who became the first consecutive Bathurst 12 Hours winner since Darryl O’Young and Christopher Mies in 2011-12.

O’Young is, of course, ironically the crew chief of 2022 runner-up Craft-Bamboo Racing.

Further on, the #6 Lamborghini of Tony D’Alberto/David Wall/Grant Denyer/Adrian Deitz edged out the #9 Audi of Lee Holdsworth/Dean Fiore/Marc Cini in the top five.

David Russell/Paul Stokell/James Koundouris (#47 Audi, ninth overall) bounced back from the Practice 3 crash that put Theo Koundouris out of contention to win the Amateur class, while Class C honors went to Craig Lowndes/Alex Davison/Geoff Emery/Scott Taylor (Porsche #222, downright 10th).

None of the three Invitational entries made it to the finish.

The most high-profile car to crash to the side of the road was the No. 65 Audi on pole position driven by Chaz Mostert, which came to a stop a few times during the sixth hour, requiring a reset.

The day for the Coinspot team ended early when Fraser Ross found the wall atop The Mountain at the start of the eighth hour.

Team BRM’s #17 Audi recorded a top 10 finish but wondered what could have been, having led the race at one point despite missing qualifying.

Joey Mawson impressively weaved his way across the pitch in the opening stanza before Nick Percat continued.

However, a faulty rain light cost time for repairs, and this was compounded by a long brake pedal that required bleeding.

The #777 (Ricardo Feller/Markus Winkelhock/Yasser Shahin) had a bumpy ride to seventh place, including losing several laps due to tire delamination which damaged the right rear.

All told, it was a disastrous day for Audi and one of celebration for Mercedes – a scenario that seemed unlikely just 24 hours before.

The Bathurst 12 Hours are scheduled to return to their traditional February slot in 2023.

Results: 2022 12 Hours of Bathurst

Pos # Team Driver Auto Classroom Difference
1 75 SunEnergy Race1 J.Gounon/L.Stolz/M.Konrad/K.Habul Mercedes-AMG GT3 PAA
2 91 Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Racing M.Engel/D.Juncadella/K.Tse Mercedes-AMG GT3 PAA +8.7071
3 888 Triple Eight Race Engineering S.van Gisbergen/B.Feeney/J.Ibrahim Mercedes-AMG GT3 PAA +1:35.3671
4 74 Audi Sport Team Valvoline K.van der Linde/N.Berthon/B.Schumacher Audi R8 GT3 Evo II PAA +1 turn
5 6 wall race TD’Alberto/D.Wall/G.Denyer/A.Deitz Lamborghini Huracan GT3 PAA +5 rounds
6 9 Hallmarc L.Holdsworth/D.Fiore/M.Cini Audi R8 GT3 Evo II PAA +5 rounds
7 777 Audi Sport Team Valvoline R.Fella/M.Winkelhock/Y.Shahin Audi R8 GT3 Evo II PAA +6 turns
8 17 Team GRE N.Percat/J.Mawson/M.Rosser Audi R8 GT3 Evo II PAA +7 laps
9 47 Supabarn D.Russell/P.Stokell/J.Koundouris Audi R8 GT3 Evo II AMA +8 laps
ten 222 Scott Taylor Motorsport A.Davison/C.Lowndes/G.Emery/S.Taylor Porsche 991 GT3 Gen II VS +15 rounds
11 24 Tony Bates Race D.Reynolds/C.Waters/T.Bates Audi R8 GT3 Evo II PAA +35 laps
CN 55 Valmont Race D.Padayachee/S.Pires/M.Zalloua Mercedes-AMG GT3 AMA +92 rounds
CN 11 Our Motorsport Kloud-UpTo11 E.Constantindis/A.Zerefos/I.Padayachee Porsche 991 GT3 Gen II VS +93 rounds
DNF 4 grove race B.Barker/B.Grove/S.Grove Porsche911 GT3R PAA
DNF 45 RAM Motorsport B.Hobson/G.Walden/M.Sheargold Mercedes-AMG GT3 AMA
DNF 65 Coinspot C.Mostert/F.Ross/L.Talbot Audi R8 GT3 Evo II PAA
DNF 95 MARC Cars Australia D.Fraser/J.Camilleri/G.Taunton MARC II V8 I
DNF 50 M Motorsport/Vantage Racing D.Wood/G.Wood/T.Harrison/D.Crampton KTM X-Bow GT2 I
DNF 19 Nineteen Corporation Pty Ltd W.Brown/J.Perkins/M.Griffith Mercedes-AMG GT3 PAA
DNF 52 Wheels/ FX Racing PNG Z.Morse/K.Kassulke/H.Morrall MARC II V8 I

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