The past three hours has seen the race began to take shape, and a handful of teams emerged as contenders and are in the hunt for the win as the second half of the 2019 Bathurst 12 Hour beckons.
Early Safety Cars had resulted in a multitude of strategies being used at the front which meant a near-constant change of leader. Things settled down in Hour 5 though, when the race’s fourth safety car presented an opportunity for the top cars to pit simultaneously and get back in sync.
Augusto Farfus is in the lead of the race in the #42 BMW Team Schnitzer M6 GT3 heading into Hour 7. The Brazilian is currently having to fend off the ferocious #108 Bentley Team M-Sport Continental of Maxime Soulet which sits second.
Jake Dennis has the #62 R-Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage in third. The team has successfully rebounded to this point after starting in twelfth following its Super Pole exclusion and two-place grid penalty for speeding in the pits in qualifying.
The #999 Team GruppeM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 was running in second in Hour 6, though Maximillian Buhk was penalised for weaving before the Safety Car restart, dropping the car down to ninth in class.
Leading the Pro-Am class is the #75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3. Dominik Baumann and second-placed Pro-Am car – the #51 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3 are on the same pit cycle.
Still in the lead of the B-Class is the #4 Grove Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Ben Barker is now in the car with a five-lap lead. The #43 Ashley Seward Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup was running in second when Danny Stutterd made hard contact with the wall on the top of the mountain, the car veering into the unforgiving left-side wall after being lapped by Jake Dennis’ #62 Aston.
The #20 T2 Racing MARC II V8 of Daniel Jilesen is in the lead of the invitational class. The car is in a heated battle for the class lead though with the #91 MARC Cars MARC II V8, the two switching places through the pit cycles.
Leading the C-class is the #48 M Motorsport KTM X-Bow GT4 with Elliot Barbour.
There were plenty of dramas between Hour 4 and Hour 7. The #35 KCMG Nissan GTR ran into trouble in Hour 5 of the race. The car came to a stop on the Mountain Straight, before losing drive on the exit of the Chase a handful of laps later. Once in the garage, the team diagnosed the issue as a gearshift compressor issue. Katsumasa Chiyo is in the car now and is twelve laps off the lead.
The #22 Audi Sport Team Valvoline was another top competitor to run into issues. Garth Tander slammed into the back of the slow-moving #19 Griffith Corp. Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Christiana Nielsen. The right front of the Audi met the left rear of the Mercedes at The Cutting, both cars suffering damage and requiring attention.
The #22 Audi is seven laps down, while the #19 Mercedes is four laps down.
The #96 MARC Cars MARC I is official out of the race after suffering crash damage earlier on. Meanwhile, the #760 R-Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage is in the final stages of its repair job and should be rejoining the action soon. The team has found a brave-soul to fight off a spider that had moved into its spare parts box!
Featured image courtesy of IGTC