The Mountain didn’t disappoint across four days of action, with rain making Mount Panorama even harder to scale.
Drama ensued from the start of the weekend, with incidents in practice, qualifying and, the race. Some teams fared better than others, while one man has one hand on the championship.
The tale of Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander
Shane van Gisbergen entered the weekend, with the potential of winning the championship at Bathurst.
After qualifying in P4, the pair were later reduced to P7, following a five-second time penalty for an altercation at the end of qualifying.
Luckily, the pair didn’t lose much track position during the race. Although they were hit with minor setbacks, including a 5-second penalty for an unsafe pit release just three hours into the race – which was undertaken during the next pit stop.
They were once in a position for van Gisbergen to claim the championship with 34 laps remaining. He needed to win the race and have Waters finish in P5 or lower. Although Waters did climb back onto the podium, if safety cars had’ve intervened, it may have been possible.
A three-way battle for the lead soon became two, as Chaz Mostert made an almighty climb. Mostert had previously won Bathurst on the final lap in 2014 – when Jamie Whincup infamously ran out of fuel with half a lap remaining.
Mostert was unable to make a move stick but remained close. Van Gisbergen crossed the line just 1.1 seconds before Mostert in P2. Waters completed the podium in P3, his third consecutive season finishing on the Bathurst podium.
Van Gisbergen and Tander have now won two Bathurst 1000’s together, first doing so in 2020 – where van Gisbergen won his first Peter Brock Trophy.
The triumph of 2022 was Tander’s fifth Bathurst win. His first came in 2000, then he won two in three years in 2009 and 2011, with current drivers Will Davidson and Nick Percat respectively.
Wet qualifying drama
Friday afternoon was host to the main qualifying session. 40 minutes dedicated to the speed of the circuit.
Positions 11 to 28 were set to be determined during this session, with the top 10 scheduled to enter the shootout on Saturday.
Drama in the form of shock revelations occurred, rather than cars ending up all over the place. Big names missed the top 10, while the championship leader was left under investigation.
Qualifying was wet, but also not drying up any time soon, not until the very end anyway. With the track getting quicker, it was vital to be out there at the end of qualifying to try and pinch a top-10 berth.
Red Bull made the decision of allowing seven-time champion Jamie Whincup to qualify instead of rookie Broc Feeney. Unfortunately for them, Whincup still wasn’t fast enough to make the top 10, qualifying in P14.
Other drivers that missed the top 10 included Anton de Pasquale (P11), Craig Lowndes (P16), David Reynolds (P18), and veteran Mark Winterbottom was stranded way back in P23.
On the other hand, some surprise entries found themselves inside the top 10. Those being James Courtney (P8), Nick Percat (P7), Richie Stanaway (P5), and incredibly Lee Holdsworth on the front row in P2.
Waters took out the provisional pole, which turned out to be vital. On Saturday, the top 10 shootout was scheduled for the afternoon.
Due to rain, the track condition never improved and organisers were forced to abandon the session, resulting in the order staying the same for the race. A huge result for some, while disappointing for others.
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Eight safety cars
The safety car was in full use on Sunday. The wet start to the race made it more probable that incidents would occur, but even as the track dried out, a singular mistake was costly.
After one turn on the opening lap of the race, the safety car was released. An incident between three cars in the mid-pack caused a subsequent block in the track.
Just four laps later, an incident forced the safety car to come out once again. Zane Goddard collected Dale Wood and Matt Campbell upon re-entering the track. The heavy collision forced all three cars to retire.
The third safety car came on lap 17, when Jake Kostecki bogged his Mustang on the exit of The Chase, close to the incident prior. Kostecki was able to eventually get back on track and continue.
14 laps later, Alex Davidson in car number 17 also got bogged at The Chase exit and safety car number four was released, like Kostecki, Davidson was able to continue.
Tim Blanchard was the culprit for safety car number five. A tussle with Nick Percat saw him in the fence at Forest Elbow.
Thanks to some assistance from the marshals, he was out of the barrier and continued, like the previous stranded drivers.
Macauley Jones and co had a horror weekend on The Mountain. On Friday and Saturday, the car needed repairs for separate incidents, keeping the team up later than expected.
During the race, he was beached on pit entry and forced the sixth safety car of the race.
The penultimate safety car came out on lap 119 when Todd Hazelwood went wide and got stuck in the wall at turn two, trying to get out only made him more stuck.
Two separate incidents caused the eighth and final safety car. Jack Smith found the wall at the top of the mountain and had to crawl back to pit lane with three working wheels.
Will Davidson did the same as Hazelwood at turn two but had to retire from the race.
Bathurst by numbers
It was Holden’s last Bathurst 1000 – with the manufacturer being replaced by Chevrolet next season. Van Gisbergen and Tander’s victory capped off Holden’s 35th win at Mount Panorama.
Six cars did not finish the race. There were eight safety cars, the equal-most since 2019. However, in that race, there was only one safety car in the first 101 laps, with seven coming in the final 60 laps.
Garth Tander continues to extend his racing reputation, winning his fifth Bathurst 1000 title. He joins an exclusive list of seven drivers to have won five or more times.
Finally, van Gisbergen came agonisingly close to sealing the championship, needing certain results to go his way. He now holds a 567-point lead over Waters, who kept his championship hopes alive with a podium finish.
If van Gisbergen wins on the Gold Coast, he will need Waters to finish in P3 or lower to claim his third championship.
Despite this, it is likely that van Gisbergen will close out the championship, within the next two events. Either at the Gold Coast or in the season finale in Adelaide.
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