On Saturday afternoon he was pumped, on Sunday afternoon he was shattered – Dean Fiore provided yet another example of how quickly fortunes can change at Mount Panorama over the course of the Bathurst 1000.
This year Fiore was on double duties at the Mount as both a regular in the Dunlop Super2 Series and co-driver for Nissan Motorsport’s Michael Caruso in the Bathurst 1000.
While he steered an Altima in both, one went decidedly better than the other.
His Super2 entry claimed the chequered flag in Saturday’s enduro while the Industrial Athlete Racing Nissan was one of two cars to get a DNF in Sunday’s Bathurst 1000.
Fiore’s 10th Great Race campaign came to an end on lap 72 due to a loss of engine power, but even before then he and Caruso were doing it tough.
A brake bias adjuster was knocked during the pair’s first driver change, resulting in Fiore locking up and making contact with the wall at turn one. It saw them fall almost two laps off the pace.
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“I’m really disappointed in how I performed today. It was a mistake that should not have been made,” Fiore said.
“It turns out we’d knocked the bias during the driver change. Then I grazed the wall, which didn’t turn out to be too bad. But then coming out of the Dipper, I got on the throttle and the thing sounded like it was a four-stroke. That was it - day done.”
While that was a bitter disappointment, Fiore did still manage a career highlight in the Super2 race. Heading into the last lap he seemed destined to place third, but an incident involving the two men ahead of him, Garry Jacobson and Macauley Jones, gifted him the win.
“It's awesome to finish up on top up here,” he said.
“It was awesome, great, I was still pumped when I was getting out of the car. It was unreal, such a good feeling.
“[This ranks] Right up there. The Perth one was pretty good this year, that was awesome and the podium with Caruso on the Gold Coast was awesome, but Bathurst is it, this is where it's at.
“When you've got good car and engine, there’s just no track like it in the world, so I’m very, very privileged to be driving around here in such a good car.”
Fiore, who is contesting the Super2 series for the first time, picked up his third podium of the season after starting third on the grid.
His only mistake was an early incident involving Paul Dumbrell, but he recovered well and gained track position with good pit stops.
“I had a bit of coming together with PD ... that was a bit of rough going on the exit of turn two, I was heading backwards a little bit there,” he said.
“But I had speed underneath me so I wasn't too stressed about losing a couple of positions, because obviously it's a long race.”