Bathurst 1000 key talking points

Jawad Yaqub Roar Guru

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    It was another unforgettable edition of the Bathurst 1000, with weather wreaking havoc across Mount Panorama, as 161-laps yielded new winners in David Reynolds and Luke Youlden.

    Across what was a huge weekend for the Supercars championship in 2017, here are some of the key talking points at the conclusion of the Great Race.

    David beats Goliath
    When a small or struggling team in any sports wins, or gets one up on the more established outfits – there is reason to celebrate and it is no different in motorsport.

    Erebus Motorsport in their short presence in the Supercars series, have been up against it since day dot. From their failed venture with the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMGs, to having to relocate their entire operation from Queensland to Victoria in 2016, changing manufacturers also – the minnows had redefined adversity.

    Winning the Bathurst 1000 is the jewel in the crown for touring cars in Australia and no matter who wins it, the victory is held in the highest regard. For the spirited Betty Klimenko and her Erebus team to topple the heavyweights and win the Great Race, will be a feat that’ll be talked about for years to come.

    David Reynolds proved why he was a genuine championship contender in 2015, driving a composed race and putting the #9 Commodore on the front-row, while Luke Youlden demonstrated that he doesn’t need to be driving full-time to be a top driver come the season of endurance.

    There have been many moments throughout the season, where Erebus have been billed as the leading Holden team, which amidst juggernauts such as the Red Bull Holden Racing Team and GRM – is a fair position to be in.

    The podium result at Phillip Island earlier in the season, was almost a premonition that Erebus would be strong come Bathurst. This due to the similarity between the circuits with the high-speed corners.

    Boosting Erebus’ victory, was the fourth-place finish for Dale Wood in the #99 car alongside co-driver Chris Pither.

    McLaughlin’s ‘Lap of the Gods’
    While the outcome of the Bathurst 1000 was one of heartbreak for championship contender Scott McLaughlin, the young Kiwi did leave everyone in awe of his record breaking lap from the Top-Ten Shootout.

    In what was a spectacular lap, where McLaughlin even got onto two wheels at McPhillarmy Park, the 24-year old squeezed a 2:03.831 out of his DJR Team Penske Ford Falcon – redefining the ‘Lap of the Gods’, which was a similarly astonishing lap set by fellow Kiwi Greg Murphy in 2003.

    Scott McLaughlin

    (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

    McLaughlin’s 14th pole position of the year has now elevated him to seventh on the all-time Supercars pole list. With a total of 31 now in his young career, the Kiwi has only 8 more to achieve and squeeze himself into the top five and join the esteemed company of Peter Brock, Mark Skaife, Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup.

    The Mountain’s Cruelty
    It takes an earnest effort to win the Bathurst 1000, but conversely it is a very easy race to let slip through the clutches. Such is the cruel nature of Mount Panorama, that there’ll be many cases of hardship and heartache at the end of a most taxing day.

    The mechanical failure for the #17 Falcon stands out as being the biggest tale of anguish, considering the blistering speed shown by McLaughlin in the build-up to the race. Difficult it is also to fault the efforts from his co-driver Alex Prémat, who once again is left without the top prize.

    Similarly, Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell were once again thrown out of contention for the win in their Red Bull Holden, with mechanical problems curtailing their running during the race.

    Garry Rogers Motorsport’s momentous day became undone when both their cars underwent trauma in the chaotic late stages of the race. Both Garth Tander and James Moffat had their efforts cruelled and likely podium results snatched.

    So fickle is the nature of the Bathurst 1000 and endurance racing as a whole.

    Championship margins narrowed
    Such is the nature of the Bathurst 1000, that the picture of the championship battle has been turned on its head, with the lead changing between DJR Team Penske teammate and going over to Fabian Coulthard.

    A third-place finish for Coulthard has handed the Kiwi a 91-point advantage in the standings, while his rivals in Jamie Whincup and Scott McLaughlin faltered.

    McLaughlin, who had led the championship since the mid-point of the season, drops to third with a 97-point deficit to his teammate – while Whincup retain second.

    Despite this shakeup, the gap across the top five drivers has been reduced drastically, with 289-point spread from Coulthard to Shane van Gisbergen in fifth.

    300-points are on offer for the final endurance race at the Gold Coast 600, with 150-points split across the two races. With the margins having been narrowed, this championship has just invited the likes of Chaz Mostert and Van Gisbergen back into the hunt.