SUNDAY 11 OCTOBER 2009
SIMONSEN DELIVERS AT BATHURST UNTIL ENGINE FAILS
Probably the most anticipated race event in the South Hemisphere is the 1000km V8 Supercar enduro at Bathurst.

Whilst it is still called an enduro, it is really a 1000km sprint race broken into 6 or 7 dashes for supremacy. No longer can you afford to rest a little - its just go full song all the time.

This year V8 Supercars changed to Ethanol fuel and whilst it is more environmentally friendly, the fuel milage is worse than conventional fuel. That translates to more pit stops (6 or 7 over the 1000km) and then, in effect, restarts the individual dashes back to the front.

In addition, the safety car always seems to play a large part in the outcome of the race and more often than not, it comes down to a 5 lap sprint to the end.

With the safety car generally picking up the leader, its a full on assault to the end, but some cars, which are laps down, get caught up in the fight, confusing the public and frustrating the real leaders. Which often then leads to another safety car period after someone lost their true sense of position.


The Mountain Show got underway on Thursday afternoon, with Allan setting an exploratory time on the green circuit of 2.13.6252 and then onto 2.11.5539 (23rd) in the second session.

Putting this into perspective, the sister Triple Eight car of championship leader/reigning champ Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes drilled a 2.10.0575 (6th). By the end of the day Simonsen was down to 2.08.9741 (13th) with Jamie Whincup fastest (2.07.3745).

Friday was Q day and James Thompson needed more track time before race day. He'd improve significantly, getting down into the 2.12's, but this was still a way off Simonsen in the 2.08's.


Naturally Allan was to qualify. But it never really went to plan. It was either a red flag or an unclear lap or a weather issue that ruined his chance to show exactly what he could do. And at the very end of the session, with his best tyres on, one of the DJR cars parked in the sandpit at Murray's Corner, red flagging the session. With less than 2 minutes remaining, it was not restarted and what was looking like being Allan's best run, was once again thwarted. He'd start 17th (2.08.3859)

Despite what was billed to be a fine day, Sunday dawned with angry skies. An overnight storm had drenched both the circuit and the thousands of campers, removing most of the rubber built up over the last few days. With 45 minutes to go, the temperature plunged 6 degrees in a matter of minutes forcing teams to engage Plan B – a wet weather start.

Simonsen got as good a start as any into the first corner (Hell), doing well to avoid the almost obligatory off, in front of him.

That moved him instantly to 12th as the pack headed up the mountain for the first time. By lap 3 he was 11th. Then L6 into P10, but now the track was drying and drivers were searching for a wet patch to keep the tyres alive. On L7 almost half the field pitted for drys, elevating the Dane to 3rd.

With the pitlane full he'd do another lap before swapping to drys in a much less chaotic environment. Returning 17th, his Triple 8 team mate, Craig Lowndes, was given a drive-thru penalty for an unsafe pit release. That pushed the lead 888 car down to 20th and by the 45 minute mark, sat 3 seconds behind Simonsen in 18th. Changing patterns of fate for the international duo?
L20:P14 with Lowndes now less than a second behind it was clear that he'd have to let his team mate through, on his was to a possible 4 Bathurst wins in a row. And with that done, it was time for the #88 car to pit for fuel - nice timing.

James Thompson has a vast amount of experience but having not been to The Mountain before, and had not raced a rear wheel drive car since 1997, other than his Phillip Island outing a few weeks back. He was definitely finding the task tougher than expected and consequently the team elected to swap Allan out for James at the first stop, with the rationale that it was best for James to get his laps in whilst dry.

This pattern of changing drivers continued, but when it did rain, James was a very capable driver indeed.

By the third hour, the #88 car had lost its advantage.

Add to that a safety car at the wrong time, a pit lane speeding infringement and finally a blown engine, after oil pressure was lost, less than 20 laps from home. A disappointing result, but on analysis it showed that the #88 guys were able to match times of the #888 car. It was simply a case of bad luck and timing that caused the demise.

Allan has a few weeks break before heading to Japan for the single Le Mans series race at Okayama – no doubt this will be a very significant event for the Hankook sponsored Ferrari.

Next its to Adelaide, to complete recce for this years Classic Adelaide – one of the worlds greatest tarmac rally events.