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HomeNewsBathurstAudi suffers early Bathurst 12 Hour blow

Audi suffers early Bathurst 12 Hour blow

THE 13th lap of the Bathurst 12 Hour proved unlucky for Audi with its main hope crashing out of the race.

Christopher Haase crashed the #74 Melbourne Performance Centre Audi backwards into the tyre wall at Griffins Bend after contact from Duvashen Padayachee in the #44 Valmont Racing Mercedes-AMG.

The pair had been battling over 11th position at the time amid a big train of cars behind sixth-placed Liam Talbot in the #65 Sportsbet-backed Audi.

Padayachee had been demoted from ninth at the Chase on the previous lap by Frederic Vervisch in the #55 Audi, then to 10th at Murray’s Corner by Haase’s teammate Ricardo Feller in the #777 MPC Audi.

Haase then passed the Mercedes at Hell Corner but Padayachee ranged up on the inside as they arrived at the top of Mountain Straight, the cars colliding as the Audi turned into Griffin’s.

Although Haase limped the car back to the pits, the damage to the left-rear corner was too extensive and the car was retired after just 32 minutes of racing.

The R8 Haase shared with Patrick Niederhauser and Mattia Drudi was the only Audi entered in the Pro Class.

“That was not what we came for half an hour into and endurance race,” said Chris Reinke, head of Audi Sport Customer Racing.

“We saw the sun coming up over Mount Panorama and obviously driver talent came down on one of the competitors.

“Completely disillusioned for the moment, deeply disappointed.

“It was a clean move before, the driver let us by because he was less quick and then a few corners later just punts us out.

“Christopher Haase had no chance to catch the car and hit the barrier in a way we have structural damage on the car and we have to retire.”

The race stewards investigated the incident but decided not to apply a penalty to the #44 Mercedes.

Polesitter Maro Engel led the race for the entire opening hour in the #999 GruppeM Mercedes-AMG, heading the Triple Eight-run #888 Mercedes with Maxi Goetz at the wheel.

The #912 Porsche ran third after 60 minutes with Thomas Preining aboard ahead of reigning race victory Luca Stolz in the #75 Sun Energy 1 Mercedes.

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