RECAP: 2019 BATHURST 1000
Another Bathurst 1000 done and dusted for the DFR crew, and what an eventful weekend it was.
The 2019 Bathurst 1000 seen DFR roll out a new car for the assault on the Mount. It was a calculated risk, not ever having raced the car, let alone making its debut on the iconic and unforgiving Mount Panoroma. It took a number of session to dial in, with the added challenge of the constant threat of rain. Fortunately, Declan had 5 mostly dry sessions.
Practice One, Declan encountered a large amount of traffic and managed 14th position out of the 34 competing cars. The car felt strong and looked amazing, thanks to Ritchie from Paul Morris Motorsport and Justin (Dad). They did an outstanding job, with the excessive amount of hours and effort they poured into getting the new beast ready for Bathurst.
Practice Two was similar to Practice One traffic wise and while still dialing the new car in, Declan managed to break into the top ten.
Qualifying, new tyres were bolted on and some areas of improvement on track were addressed thanks to the data gurus on the Paul Morris Motorsports team. The set up was left the same as that used in Practice Two and we sent it, knocking off a full second managing to finish in 8th position.
Race One seen Declan start from the 4th row. Declan got a ripping start as he rounded turn one and headed up Mountain Straight. With three laps to go and closely following the front battle pack, a massive 2018 deja-vu moment occurred heading into the cutting, as a car almost found the wall directly in front of car 777. All of the DFR team had a heart racing, stomachs in their mouths moment until Declan cleared the scene. The pace was quick and this slight incident was enough to lose contact with the front battle pack.
The car felt nervous over the top of the Mount but strong in the other two sectors. Declan crossed the line in 6th position, with some valuable championship points in the bag.
Race Two involved some minor changes to car set up to tackle the sector across the top. Declan got another brilliant start and as the race rolled on Declan was battling in the front pack with pace, posting the second fastest time of the race.
With just over a lap to go, a gap presented itself at Murrays Corner and Declan put the move on; which was later scrutinized by the stewards and resulted in a post race 10 second penalty. Declan crossed the line for the last lap in 2nd place, but realised while approaching the cutting, the ABS on his brakes had failed, restricting his pace across the top, however he still managed to gain a small gap on the cars behind him. It wasn’t until the run down through Forrest’s Elbow and down Conrod Straight that it was determined the car was lacking straight line speed. The hungry pack realised Declan was struggling under brakes and as they out braked him on the approach to the chase, Declan tipped it in only to suddenly feel a massive jolt thrust, as a car from behind had arrived on the scene at break neck speed, contacting the front of car 777, launching their car into a devastating and incredibly scary looking barrel roll.
Thankfully the driver, and incidentally one of Declan’s team mates, was able to walk away without a scratch.
Declan managed to bring the car home in P7, however as a result of the imposed 10 second penalty, relegated the team to 11th position.
Race Three and out of 11th position, Declan got an average start compared to his earlier races. The car handled differently and Declan fought hard to keep position throughout the race duration, finishing 12th at the checkered flag.
DFR went into Round Three 2nd in the Toyota 86 Racing Series Championship and 108 points behind the 2018 reigning champion. After the weekend, we slipped to 4th, however take away the positive that we are now only 48 points from the lead with just two rounds left to go.
It is set to be a thrilling remainder of the season with less than 50 points separating all top 4 drivers in the 2019 Toyota 86 Racing Series Championship, with our next race scheduled at the Penrite Sandown 500 from November 9-11, followed closely by the Coates Hire Newcastle 500 from November 23-25.