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Chaz Mostert has fought back from early dramas to clinch his second Bathurst 1000 win, denying Shane van Gisbergen back-to-back victories in Australia’s most famous motor race.
Van Gisbergen threw everything he could at Mostert, but the Supercars champion suffered tyre dramas with seven laps remaining and slid from just two seconds behind the leader to 18th spot.
Mostert and his Walkinshaw Andretti United co-driver Lee Holdsworth, who is finally a Bathurst 1000 champion at his 18th attempt, were the quickest and most consistent drivers at Mount Panorama all weekend.
But their golden run from pole appeared to be in tatters after Mostert was forced to bring his Commodore into the garage on lap 49 due to a left-wheel puncture.
However, there was no panic in the WAU ranks as Mostert recovered and was able to cross the line almost four seconds ahead of Ford ace Cameron Waters, who finishes runner-up for the second year in a row.
Erebus’ Brodie Kostecki achieved his best result at Mount Panorama by coming in third.
Seven-time Supercars champion Jamie Whincup’s finished fourth in his final race before he transitions into off-track management as Red Bull Ampol’s new boss
It was Mostert’s 16th win of his Supercars career and his first Bathurst 1000 victory in a Commodore after his extraordinary 2014 triumph came driving a Ford Falcon.
Mostert has mixed memories at Mount Panorama, with his maiden Bathurst 1000 win, achieved from 25th and last on the grid, followed up by a horrific crash in 2015 that left him with a broken leg and wrist.
The 29-year-old admitted he carried demons at the regional NSW venue for a number of years following the accident but they are sure to be banished after this success.
The 64th running of the race was relatively incident-free until a wild echidna wandered onto the track during lap 105.
Several cars, going at more than 250 km/h, narrowly missed hitting the spiny anteater as it slowly made its way across the width of the track, before the second safety-car of the race was called.
But the safety-car was called out another four times in the remaining 56 laps after the echidna’s appearance, as tired drivers started to make mistakes.
The Dewalt Racing Team 18 of Scott Pye and James Golding was the first entry to withdraw, completing just six laps.
Teenager Broc Feeney, who will replace Whincup in his Triple Eight car next year, failed to finish after crashing into the wall with 19 laps remaining.
Erebus rookie Will Brown’s maiden Bathurst 1000 as a main driver ended in disappointing fashion, after earlier claiming provisional pole, with teammate Jack Perkins experiencing steering issues.