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Feeney upstages Brown in Triple Eight 1-2

BROC Feeney has taken the Supercars Championship lead for the first time in his young career after heading a Triple Eight one-two in the 2024 season-opener.

Polesitter Will Brown was upstaged and had to settle for second, as Race 1 of the Thrifty Bathurst 500 met an incident-filled end.

Triple Eight’s new combination passed their first test in race trim when they managed to defy a pair of slow starts to maintain their one-two status, Brown hanging on from Feeney.

Chaz Mostert and Cameron Hill behind had much better launches off the second row but were left with nowhere to go, and by the first run up the Mountain it was Hill ahead in third.

The race start. Pic: Nathan Wong

PremiAir Racing’s 2024 had already got off to a shocking start by that point, first with James Golding having trouble getting away for the formation lap.

That forced him to start from the pitlane, and he soon had his teammate for company at the back after Tim Slade was caught up in a four-into-one crunch at the first corner.

Andre Heimgartner, Thomas Randle, Ryan Wood and Slade went into Hell Corner side-by-side and it was the latter two who lost out on the outside.

Wood’s rookie race was immediately over, buried in the gravel, while Slade skated out to rejoin the field.

As predicted by Thomas Randle, the threat of a Full Course Yellow seemed to deter teams from gambling on an early stop, with only Anton De Pasquale and Matt Payne ducking in at the earliest opportunity at the end of Lap 5.

All the while, Brown calmly held the lead until peeling into the pits on Lap 10.

The Triple Eight recruit was in for a rude shock the next time around though, when Feeney’s #88 Red Bull Ampol Camaro popped out with a one-second advantage after its Lap 11 stop.

Feeney held his nerve from there and eventually began to gap his teammate, although in the physical lead was Nick Percat as Matt Stone Racing went bold with its strategy.

MSR kept its #10 Bendix Camaro going in its first stint five laps longer than any other car – and five laps after De Pasquale had made his second and final stop.

That ploy seemed to pay off as Percat charged through in his short middle stint.

Pit crews were put on standby when Aaron Love whacked the wall on driver’s right at The Cutting, with the potential for a game-changing first Full Course Yellow in Supercars Championship history.

Love, however, managed to crab his #3 CoolDrive Mustang back to the pits – but not before Triple Eight blinked by pitting Brown to avoid a potential double-stack situation.

That occurred on Lap 24, five laps before Feeney made his final visit to the lane – after which the 21-year-old emerged with roughly a second in hand.

Feeney was third-last to stop, with Percat completing the cycle on Lap 31.

At that point the order read Feeney, Brown, Mostert, Richie Stanaway, Hill, Bryce Fullwood, Percat, David Reynolds, Andre Heimgartner and Payne.

There was a late curveball still to come, when Cam Waters’ day got worse as its front-left wheel fell off at Griffins Bend.

It was a hold-your-breath moment as the wheel wandered down the hill, forcing the likes of Mostert to take evasive action, before a Full Course Yellow was deployed.

That didn’t fully bunch the field, but it did seem to bring Brown and Mostert closer to Feeney, the latter about four-seconds closer than he had been.

There was no change at the front though, and proceedings drew to a meek end after an apologetic Love repeated his earlier mistake and crashed again at The Cutting.

Broc Feeney took Race 1 of the season. Pic: Nathan Wong

That triggered a full Safety Car, but Love’s Mustang was unable to be cleared in time for a resumption of play, leaving Feeney to lead home a neutralised Brown and Mostert.

Stanaway and Hill took career-best solo finishes in fourth and fifth, while Percat made it a double MSR top six.

RESULTS: Race 1, 2024 Thrifty Bathurst 500

187Will BrownTriple EightChevrolet40 laps
288Broc Feeney Triple EightChevrolet+0.3901s
325Chaz MostertWAUFord+1.1323s
426Richie StanawayGroveFord+1.5107s
54Cameron Hill MSRChevrolet+2.2634s
610Nick PercatMSRChevrolet+3.0867s
714Bryce FullwoodBJRChevrolet+3.9433s
820David ReynoldsTeam 18Chevrolet+4.3837s
98Andre HeimgartnerBJRChevrolet+5.1259s
1019Matt PayneGroveFord+5.5967s
1199Todd HazelwoodErebusChevrolet+6.0162s
12100Mark WinterbottomTeam 18Chevrolet+6.9256s
139Jack Le BrocqErebusChevrolet+8.4292s
1455Thomas Randle TickfordFord+8.8470s
157James CourtneyBRTFord+9.7171s
1617Will DavisonDJRFord+10.3159s
1723Tim SladePremiAirChevrolet+10.8511s
1831James Golding PremiAirChevrolet+11.6344s
1996Macauley JonesBJRChevrolet+12.3675s
2012Jaxon Evans BJRChevrolet+12.7523s
2111Anton De PasqualeDJRFord+13.8406s
226Cam WatersTickfordFord+5 laps
233Aaron LoveBRTFordDNF
242Ryan Wood WAUFordDNF
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