For the fourth time in the history of the annual Bathurst touring car enduro, the result will be decided long after the chequered flag has flown and the champagne has been sprayed.
The #19 Tekno Autosports Holden VF Commodore of Will Davison and Jonathon Webb was initially awarded the victory, but was not the first car to cross the line after 1000km and the completion of the scheduled 161 laps.
That honour went to the #88 Red Bull Racing Australia entry from Triple Eight, driven by Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell - a car which dominated virtually every session across the race week.
Whincup was behind the wheel while attempting to pass Volvo driver Scott McLaughlin for the lead in the closing stages of the race.
The #88 car made contact with the #33 Volvo, which sent it off the road. Under the ‘redress’ rules, which allows drivers to ‘correct’ mistakes made while racing, Whincup then slowed to allow McLaughlin to re-join the track and retake the lead.
But in the background was Garth Tander driving the #2 Holden Racing Team Commodore, who was also fighting for the lead. It was then a case of ‘three into two doesn’t go’, and as all three cars made further contact, McLaughlin and Tander struck the outside barrier, their cars suffering significant damage.
For Tander, the initial contact had already ended his race with the rear driveshaft collapsing on the #2 Commodore, while McLaughlin lost two laps in the pits as the team repaired the car sufficiently for it to re-enter the race.
As Whincup was never able to redress the situation, having carried on to take the lead of the race relatively unscathed, the race directors declared that 15 seconds would be added to the race time for car #88, post-race.
To win, Whincup would have to cross the line at least 15 seconds ahead of his nearest rival, but a late safety car following a collision at Forrest’s Elbow for the #15 Nissan Altima of Rick Kelly meant there would never be enough time to build such a lead.
So while Whincup was first to see the chequered flag, the race win was provisionally awarded to car #19 with the #97 Shane Van Gisbergen / Alex Premat Commodore finishing second.
The 15-second penalty saw Whincup and Dumbrell relegated to 11th position.
This result has not sat well with Red Bull Racing Australia, with the team announcing in the hours following the race that it would lodge a protest against the penalty.
Red Bull believes the ruling around failures to redress is unclear, and that a 15-second penalty for such an incident is without precedence in the series under the current rules.
The team would likely require the penalty to be overturned completely to reclaim the race victory, however, as anything above a five-second penalty would still ensure car #88 is not awarded the win.
Had #88 been granted the race win, the margin to second (now the #19 Commodore) would have been around 5.3 seconds.
A date for the protest hearing is yet to be scheduled by the Confederation Of Australian Motorsport (CAMS) stewards.
Adding insult to injury for the Volvo team, McLaughlin was slapped with a penalty of 25 championship points for his part in the late race incident.
While Whincup was attempting to redress the situation, McLaughlin was judged to have re-joined the racing surface in a reckless manor.
The McLaughlin/Wall Volvo was classified 15th, one position behind the ‘supergirls’ car of Simona De Silvestro and Renee Gracie.
A ‘steady’ approach from the supergirls saw them bring their Nissan Altima home in 14th place, although they finished two laps down on the race winner.
Elsewhere, DJR Team Penske saw both of its cars finish in the top-ten (fifth and sixth), while two of the five Nissan Altimas also had top-ten finishes (eighth and ninth).
Unofficial Bathurst Results
For now, the results for the 2016 Bathurst 1000 stand, but this year’s race will be fourth time the winner has been determined after the fact.
In 1967, the chequered flag was presented to the wrong car. A mid-race trip to the back area of the pits via the gate midway along Mountain Straight for the #53 Ford XR Falcon GT of the Geoghegan brothers saw them gifted an extra lap, as the manual (human) lap scorers spotted the car exiting the pits and chalked up one more.
The electronic scoring system wasn’t fooled, however, and the race win was later (rightly) awarded to the #52 Falcon of Harry Firth and Fred Gibson.
In 1987, the experiment which saw the event classed as a round of the World Touring Car Championship was judged a failure after the first- and second-placed Texaco Ford Sierras from Rudy Eggenberger’s European team were eventually disqualified.
A cloud of controversy surrounded the team for much of the race meeting, but months had passed before the #10 Holden Commodore of Peter Brock, David Parsons and Peter McLeod (Brock and Parsons having cross-entered when the #05 Commodore failed early in the race) was declared the official winner.
The ’87 race was, of course, Brock’s ninth and final victory in the annual Bathurst touring car enduro.
During the ‘Super League’-style split between Super Touring and V8 Supercars of the late 1990s, the 1997 Super Touring Bathurst 1000 race was claimed by Paul Morris and Craig Baird in a BMW 320i. It was later revealed, however, that Baird had breached the maximum permissible three hours of continuous driving, handing the race victory to the sister BMW driven by the Brabham brothers - Geoff and David.
Stay tuned for more as the results for the 2016 Bathurst 1000 are determined.
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2016 BATHURST 1000
- #19 - Davison/Webb - Team Darrell Lea STIX - 6h19m25.324s
- #97 - Van Gisbergen/Premat - Red Bull Racing Australia - +0.143
- #222 - Percat/McConville - LD Motorsport - +2.855
- #6 - Waters/Le Brocq - Prodrive Racing - +3.235
- #17 - Pye/D'Alberto - DJR Team Penske - +3.822
- #12 - Coulthard/Youlden - DJR Team Penske - +4.034
- #14 - Slade/Walsh - Brad Jones Racing - +4.197
- #23 - Caruso/Fiore - Nissan Nismo - +6.088
- #96 - Wood/Russell - Nissan Nismo - +8.383
- #21 - Blanchard/Jones - Team Cooldrive - +8.859
- #88 - Whincup/Dumbrell - Red Bull Racing Australia - +9.722 (penalty)
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