RACEGOERS enjoyed a clean, fast start to the opening hour of Sunday’s Bathurst 1000 but just shy of the 60 minute mark two teammates got caught up in the first major incident of the day.
As the Erebus and Red Bull Racing teams enjoyed their battle for the lead there was less joy for the Tickford Racing garage when David Russell was knocked into the wall at Forrests Elbow by Chaz Mostert.
Mostert had been searching for a move down the inside of his teammate but contacted the left side of Russell’s car.
Race control cleared Mostert of any wrong doing.
Russell’s co-driver Cam Waters wasn’t pleased with Mostert’s move.
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“I don’t know what Chaz was doing, trying to pass him and put him in the fence,” he said in a television interview.
“It was pretty dumb, just 30 laps into the race. That’s two years in a row we’ve been taken out by Chaz.”
That comment was in reference to last year’s Hell Corner incident where contact between Mostert pushed Garth Tander across the track and left Waters with nowhere to go.
While Tickford’s drivers were getting mixed up with one another in Sunday’s race there was an all-Commodore show brewing at the head of the field.
Erebus’ David Reynolds held his lead throughout his stint and exchanged fastest lap times with Red Bull Racing’s Shane van Gisbergen.
The gap hovered around the 3.5 second gap through their stints while Jamie Whincup and Anton De Pasquale gave chase.
De Pasquale made a nervous start after his stunning third place qualifying performance a day earlier, running long at The Chase to surrender second spot to Van Gisbergen.
Reynolds produced a two minute and 6.5454 second lap before Van Gisbergen bettered that mark with his 2:06.4590.
Garth Tander was one of the big winners from the start as he carved through the field from 10th to fifth in just a few laps.
Whincup produced the fastest lap of the day, a 2:06.3464, shortly before handing the car over to co-driver Paul Dumbrell.
One of the biggest winners after the first pit window was Simona De Silvestro who had jumped up the standings from last (26th) to 14th.
De Silvestro and her co-driver Alex Rullo continued to lurk outside the top 10 at the end of the opening hour.
Other drivers who had made gains in that time included Craig Lowndes and Steven Richards (ninth to fifth) plus Moster and James Moffat (11th to sixth).
It was Reynold’s partner Luke Youlden, Van Gisbergen’s co-driver Earl Bamber and Whincup’s co-driver Paul Dumbrell who began to form a break to the rest of the pack heading out of the opening hour.