Mixed emotions for Kiwis at Bathurst
Mon, 08 Oct 2012 6:47p.m.
By Mark Graham
While Jamie Whincup celebrated his fourth win at Bathurst, there were mixed emotions and results for the Kiwis.
Rookie Scott McLaughlin, 19, was the best in sixth - just ahead of eighth-placed Craig Baird - while Shane van Gisbergen and Greg Murphy had frustrating drives.
As fans packed up their campsites and headed home, post-race the drivers were also deconstructing their time at Bathurst.
As Whincup was spraying champagne after holding out David Reynolds in a nail biting finish, van Gisbergen was back in his garage wondering what went wrong.
“There was tyre stuff, I don't know, strategy errors, I don't know, we lost it as a team today,” van Gisbergen says. “We had a car that could have had a good result and understandably I'm frustrated we didn't achieve it.”
Van Gisbergen started well enough, moving up from third to second on the opening lap and initially avoided the mishaps as Nick Percat hit the wall.
While Kiwi John McIntyre missed the wall, he had himself and his team in a spin. There was an angry response as he was black flagged for a spinning wheel during a pit stop.
While Fabian Coulthard was back in the garage, team mate Dave Benard spun.
Meanwhile four-time champion Murphy, despite some wobbles, was slowly moving up the field after starting in the 22nd spot.
But while he briefly got himself into the top 10, he finished 13th, frustrated with his tyres and saying he just wasn't in a position for a final assault.
“It was really just who had the best fuel economy at the end, and clearly ours was nowhere near good enough,” Murphy says.
At one stage it looked like it would be good enough though, with Murphy one of six Kiwi cars in the top 12 after 100 laps.
McLaughlin, who was racing go-carts three years ago, ended up as the first Kiwi in sixth.
Baird was the next best Kiwi in eighth but the day belonged to Whincup, and along with his fourth Bathurst win he also extended his lead in the V8 Supercar championship.
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