TRIPLE Eight rookie Broc Feeney labelled the crash that took his wildcard entry out of the Repco Bathurst 1000 a “stupid mistake”, which abruptly ended an otherwise impressive run.
Set to replace retiring seven-time Supercars championship Jamie Whincup at Red Bull Ampol Racing next year, Feeney made the most of his wildcard chance alongside veteran Russell Ingall.
AS IT HAPPENED: How the 2021 Repco Bathurst 1000 unfolded
BY THE NUMBERS: The key stats from the 2021 Repco Bathurst 1000
The 19-year-old wrapped up the Super2 Series title with two race victories before setting his sights on the Great Race, where he stepped up as primary driver after a co-drive at Tickford Racing in 2020.
He qualified a strong 15th and was running ninth when he slammed the outside wall at Sulman Park after a Safety Car restart on lap 143, which meant his race ended in the McPhillamy Park sand.
“On the restart everyone was obviously very close, and we were all on greens,” Feeney explained to V8 Sleuth, having escaped with little more than a sore elbow.
“I came up under the tree and had heaps of push. I went straight away for the front anti-rollbar and pulled that down a bit softer.
“I was just a tiny bit wide on turn-in and just understeered off into the fence.
“It’s a weird one because I’d been playing around with the bars there all throughout the day, it wasn’t anything different for me, I just got a tiny bit offline and that was all she wrote.
“I’d like to say I don’t make too many mistakes, it’s been my thing this year (in Super2), but when you’re mixing it with the big boys you’ve got to have a proper crack.
“That’s what we were here to do, we weren’t here to muck around and run around at the back. so I was having a dip and came unstuck.
“It was just a stupid mistake that I made. I’ll just keep learning.
“That’s what this weekend was meant to be about for next year and we’d had a pretty good race up to that point.”
Feeney started the race aboard the #39 Commodore and starred in the first stint, overtaking a string of rivals – including Supercars champs Craig Lowndes and Mark Winterbottom – on his way into the top 10.
The car then dropped back during Ingall’s stints, and a drive-through penalty for a breach of the Safety Car wave-around procedure on lap 108 after Feeney retook control required a significant fightback.
“When I got back in to do my triple-stint we were a lap down,” he said.
“I was just behind (Nick) Percat and he was fifth or sixth and we were lucky with the lucky dog (wave-around), but we had a pit lane penalty and to then be battling in the top 10….
“It was very cool for me, very special to be able to race Jamie as well, I was behind him for a few laps and was probably one of the few who was actually passing people out there for a bit of it, which was good fun.
“It’s good experience for me for next year. I just wanted to show the boys that I’m not going to be a little push-over rookie, so I raced them hard.
“There were a fair few stints there where I was getting the radio call that we were quickest on track, which was pretty cool considering the names and people who were out there.
“Just to be in the mix and running in the top 10. On those Safety Car restarts there were only a few cars in front of me and that was for the win of the Bathurst 1000.
“It was pretty surreal out there, but the fact we were going so well makes it hurt even more.”