CRAFT-Bamboo Racing almost pulled off a tactical masterstroke in Sunday's Bathurst 12 Hour but the Hong Kong-based Mercedes team had to settle for second place.
The team of Daniel Juncadella, Maro Engel and Kevin Tse decided to rip through all nine of their compulsory pit stops as quick as possible, doing so after just a little over fours.
The decision worked out perfectly for the team, who had Engel positioned close behind SunEnergy1 Racing driver Jules Gounon during the last hour of the race.
Engel and Gounon traded almost identical lap times throughout their last stints and the Craft-Bamboo driver said he couldn't have done much more during a fast-paced run to the finish line.
"Those two and a quarter hours was basically all top 10 shootouts. I threw everything at it and left nothing on the table," Engel said.
"For me personally it's amazing. It's my first podium at Bathurst and I've tried so many times to win this race, or at least get myself on the podium, so we're grateful and happy to be here.
"I think our team did an amazing job and these two guys [Juncadella and Tse] did a great job in their first time at Bathurst, especially after missing a full day of practice.
"I felt a bit rusty going into the race but I can't imagine what it was like for these guys who only got 15 to 20 laps on Friday."
The team missed both of Saturday's practice sessions and qualifying due to a required engine change, meaning the team missed out on valuable laps at the Mount.
But their strategy the following day saw the car surge from the back of the grid into a competitive position, with Engel eventually finding the lead heading into the eighth hour of the race.
The team couldn't quite hold that advantage and Engel said he's keen to continue his bid for 12 Hour glory.
"The good thing is that the wait is only nine months this time, so not as long as usual," he said.
The last spot on the podium went to the Triple Eight Race Engineering team of Shane van Gisbergen, Broc Feeney and Prince Jeffri Ibrahim, who completed the Mercedes 1-2-3 finish.
Following the last round of pit stops the #888 entry had around a minute to make up on Gounon and Engel, with van Gisbergen behind the wheel.
The car didn't have to pace to eat into the margin and the 2016 champion had to be content with the third place result.
"We didn't quite have the speed but it's a pretty amazing result for Mercedes AMG to go 1-2-3," van Gisbergen said.
"The car was solid and we stayed out of trouble and made no mistakes. We just kept going all day. That speed was just lacking, but it's still a great result and in Jeffri's first endurance race he did really well.
"When there was rain he was on slicks and had to get through a couple of extra laps to try and stay on the lead lap and to get through his drive time."
"I just wanted to not make any mistakes and being on those slicks was really, really slippery. I tried to bring to car back in one piece so Shane and Broc could do their job," Ibrahim said.
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