David Reynolds and Luke Youlden win 2017 Bathurst 1000

Scott Pryde Roar Guru

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    David Reynolds and Luke Youlden of Erebus Motorsport have won an action-packed 2017 Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama, both claiming their first victory on the famous mountain after a seven-hour epic.

    They edged out Scott Pye, driving with Warren Luff and Fabian Coulthard, who was paired with Tony D’Alberto after a six-lap dash to the line.

    After three days of practice and qualifying in almost entirely dry conditions, rain greeted the drivers in the minutes before the race, and the track was wet enough to start proceedings off dry tyre compounds.

    It more or less rained consistently for the first 100 laps of the race, with lap times blowing out to well beyond the two minutes 30 mark. Despite the rain, there was no safety car for 76 laps.

    That came after pole-sitter Scott McLaughlin, with Alexandre Premat in the car had engine problems and had to park the car at the end of Mountain straight. It also compressed the field, after multiple drivers were booted off the first lap by a flying Cameron Waters, who held an almost half-minute gap at one point.

    Richie Stanaway was the one keeping the Monster Energy Falcon away, with the co-driver doing an incredible job in the wet conditions.

    The safety cars began flowing after that, with Chaz Mostert’s short-term gap quickly brought back by a kangaroo on Mountain Straight.

    Waters would regain the lead in the #6 car with 67 laps to go, with alternate strategies breaking out in the field and Shane Van Gisbergen putting himself in a good position after co-driver Matthew Campbell had cost them a spot on the lead lap.

    Fro the 100-lap mark, Youlden and Reynolds were in the picture, and while some safety car and pit stop activity left them looking long odds, they hung around at the front end of the field. With the rain starting to ease, Jamie Whincup’s car dropped a cylinder and he had to park in the garage.

    The race flowed through to lap 134, 27 laps from home, when a safety car was called. The whole field with the exception of Fabian Coulthard went into the pit lane to top up, with Coulthard pitting twice under safety car to keep his car topped up, despite sacrificing track poisition.

    Shane Van Gisbergen led into the final 25 laps from the restart, with everyone bar Coulthard and Michael Caruso needing to conserve fuel at a maximum.

    Just 20 laps from the end though, James Moffat hit the wall across the top of the mountain, getting off the dry line. It caused another safety car, with Chaz Mostert and Cameron Waters the only drivers to pit and top up on fuel.

    From the restart though, disaster struck. Van Gisbergen went down the escape road at Murray’s Corner, with Tander following, but not to the same extent. Tander rejoined the field, but it threw everyone out of order and around Hell corner, Waters, Mostert and Tander would collide, ending all of their chances at victory.

    It left Nick Percat and David Reynolds to run away with things at the front, but Van Gisbergen recovered and then went for a big dive on Scott Pye at the chase for third spot. He would run off the road, puncturing and ending his chances.

    Simona De Silvestro, who had put in a stellar effort to sit in the top ten then put her car into the wall on the main straight.

    It triggered another safety car, the final of the day as it turned out. From the restart, Percat through his podium spot with an adventure through the chase, while Reynolds held off Pye and Coulthard on the six-lap dash to the line, capping off an incredible Bathurst 1000.

    Scott Pryde
    Scott Pryde

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1,100 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.