In a bruising Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour that claimed a dozen cars, the Garage 59 team went through the highs and the lows of racing at Mount Panorama.
The #159 Aston Martin, competing in the Silver Class with Andrew Watson, Olivier Hart and Roman De Angelis, took second place in class by avoiding trouble and staying fast and consistent throughout the 12-hour race. They actually crossed the line in third position but a post-race penalty for a competitor boosted their position. Team regular Watson made his Bathurst debut in 2016 but De Angelis and Hart are Bathurst rookies and the calm yet fast pace from all three was rewarded with a podium finish.
“I’m delighted to be able to get a result for the team after all the hard work everyone has put in for this race,” said Watson. “I’ve been here three times now so it’s great to finally get on the podium. It’s also my first podium with Garage 59 so I’m really happy about that. My two new team mates did everything we asked them to do. They were fast and strong and stayed out of trouble when so many people were having accidents. You wouldn’t know they were Bathurst rookies. This is a great way to start the year!”
The crew of the #188 Aston Martin were left to wonder what might have been after a rare error from Côme Ledogar saw him walk away from a sizeable accident after going off at Skyline. The accident happened just 1.5 hours into the race, whilst the Frenchman was leading the Pro-Am Class. Ledogar was thankfully uninjured.
“We’re all really pleased for the guys in the #159 Vantage,” said team principal Andrew Kirkaldy. “Andrew did a great job and we were very happy with our Bathurst rookies, Roman and Olivier. We needed a bit more power to be able to compete with the cars that finished ahead of us but it was good to get the car home. The story is very different for the #188 and it’s a real shame that Alex, Maxime and Chris didn’t have a turn during the race as Mount Panorama is a fantastic track and one they don’t get to race on very often. Congratulations to Bentley. I think most people here are pleased they made it after years of trying.”