V8 SUPERCAR LEGENDS Greg Murphy and Mark Skaife have been forced to rue an untimely safety car period which robbed them of victory at the Bathurst 1000 yesterday.
As the race entered its closing stages, Murphy held a comfortable lead over the #2 Holden Racing Team car of eventual winners Garth Tander and Will Davison with only a single pit stop to go.
However, an accident on lap 140 prompted the arrival of the safety car, eroding the Sprint Gas Racing duo?s hard work and the chance to claim a combined 10th win on the mountain.
?If we were ever going to win Bathurst with 20 laps to go, this was it,? Skaife said.
?Absolutely unbelievable, we were the fastest car on the track in the final stages of the race; we could not have been in a better position.
?It was a rock solid strategy. Throw in 22 seconds of fuel and be in front of Garth by eight seconds. We would have been well in front, with the speed to take it home. It?s a cruel, cruel sport.?
Murphy eventually worked his way back to finish fourth, 0.0042 seconds behind third place getters Lee Holdsworth and Michael Caruso, highlighting his pace as the race reached its crescendo.
?I knew that our day was over with that safety car. I missed the pit entry by five seconds. Had the safety car come out five seconds later I could have made it in the pits and I would have been right,? Murphy said.
?It?s unbelievable to think that we were still in with a shot for a podium given what transpired.?
While the safety car delivered Murphy and Skaife?s chances a fatal blow, it handed the ascendency to Tander who negotiated a further two safety car periods to clinch his second Bathurst victory, and Davison?s first, ahead of Jason Richards and Cameron McConville.
Tander and Davison?s victory brought an end to Ford?s recent domination at Mount Panorama following the three straight victories of Triple Eight Racing pairing Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes.
?It's a fantastic honour for Will and I to be the first Holden drivers to bring it (the winner's trophy) back to it's traditional home,'' Tander said.
''Peter did a lot of driving in Holdens here so it's a real honour and to finally bring it home is a fantastic feeling and one I'm really proud to share with Will.?