50 laps down, Waters/Davison lead after safety car, Whincup/Lowndes out
An intense battle has been playing out in the opening 50 laps of the 2020 Bathurst 1000 with race favourites Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes out of the running after a crash on lap 33.
Though the pole-sitting #6 car of Cam Waters and Will Davison currently leads for Tickford Racing, it was the #17 DJR Team Penske entry of Scott McLaughlin and Tim Slade which has led most of the laps, only relinquishing the lead in the pit stops under safety car after Whincup’s incident in #888.
Davison started the #6 Ford Mustang and lost the lead on the run to Turn 1 but kept second place ahead of Erebus Motorsports’ #99 car of Anton de Pasquale early on, losing touch to the leader but handing the car over to Waters in the first round of stops only six seconds back from the #17 of Slade, mainly due to McLaughlin’s clean opening stint.
A double stint from Garth Tander has put the #97 Triple Eight machine, now driven by Shane van Gisbergen, up to third place as the main driver tries to displace Slade for second, meanwhile Waters continues to stretch out a margin in the lead by setting the fastest lap of the race so far.
The star of the race so far has been Brodie Kostecki, having fended off Tander in his #99 car for a few laps and holding station against Whincup which forced the four-time Bathurst winner into his race ending mistake. After the first safety car restart, Kostecki made Chaz Mostert’s #25 find the hard way around to get fourth for Walkinshaw Andretti United, holding off the 2014 race winner for a few laps until he had to give up the position.
Kelly Racing has put themselves out of the race with a clutch problem for the #15 of Rick Kelly and Dale Wood, having to pull into the garage for long fixes after running just outside the top ten in the opening stint.
The only other team to suffer issues so far has been Brad Jones Racing, car #3 of Macauley Jones having the driver’s door pop open again as it has all weekend which earned them a mechanical black flag and the #8 Nick Percat and Thomas Randle entry which has been suffering power steering issues all day but continues to circulate in ninth.
Our next race update will come at lap 100 with only one more after that post-race.