Michael Sheargold, Ollie Shannon and Brett Hobson have delivered GWR Australia a brilliant, come-from-behind Class A1 win in the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour today, fighting back from an early tyre failure to finish seventh outright in the RAM Motorsport Mercedes A45 AMG.
Hobson ran in the top 10 initially before the tyre let go on top of the Mountain, necessitating an unscheduled pit stop which saw the car falling to as low as 47th on the leader-board, two laps down on the race leaders.
The never-say-die attitude of the GWR team came to the fore, engineer Blake Smith executing a brilliant strategy to recover the lost laps. The drivers also played their part, with Shannon driving a critical mid-race stint to stay ahead of the outright race leaders and remain in contention.
The class win was particularly satisfying for Sheargold, who was participating in his first race on the Mountain.
“It’s the first time for all three of us racing in the 6 Hour and the first time I’ve actually raced here at Bathurst, so I’m over the moon with the result,” Sheargold said.
“The GWR team did a great job all weekend and both Ollie and Brett were superstars.”
“The class win is satisfying, but what makes it a particularly special achievement is the way we fought back through the field,” Hobson added.
“The tyre failure could have ended our day but the team made the right strategic calls to recover the lost ground, so by the end we were right back in contention.”
“During the stint where I was in front of the leaders, I had clear track so I was able to punch out good times, and I knew how important it was to stay on the lead lap,” Shannon said.
“With clean air, the car was really good and I was able to do fast, consistent times.”
While the result for Sheargold, Shannon and Hobson was a highlight, the team’s other Mercedes A45 AMG of Garth Walden/Michael Auld was also well in contention before losing two laps with a coil failure. Walden and Auld ultimately finished 14th.
“We were down on straight-line speed with a lack of turbo boost early in the day, but the car still had good pace and we were running around in the top 10,” Walden said.
“Unfortunately, the coil problem set us back a couple of laps and then, when I was pushing hard to recover the lost time, we had a front-left tyre failure which forced us into another unscheduled pit stop.”
The team’s third 6 Hour entry of Ben and Michael Kavich was an early retirement due to an engine misfire.
Paddon Scores RA Cup Round Win
Earlier in the day, Peter Paddon secured overall honours in the RA Cup Australia season opener by winning the weekend’s second race.
Paddon jumped ahead of his rival, Brad Shiels at the start of the race and resisted pressure from Shiels through to the chequered flag.
“The race was a bit easier than I expected – after the compulsory pit stops were complete, I had a bigger margin over the field than I was anticipating,” Paddon said.
“The car was understeering early in the race but I think that was due to a lack of tyre temperature; it came better later in the race.”
Chris Perini finished fifth in the race after a late spin at Murray’s Corner and third for the round.
“I tried a different setup with the aero for today’s race and it didn’t quite work,” Perini admitted.
Phil Anseline staged a superb recovery from his Race 1 crash to finish 10th, paying tribute to the GWR team.
“My ribs were a bit sore after yesterday, but the team did an excellent job of rebuilding the car and I was happy with my pace today once the tyres warmed up,” Anseline said. Unfortunately, Steve Champion missed today’s race; while the GWR team replaced the engine in his car overnight, a mapping issue prevented him from making the start.