GERMAN Chris Mies scored a unique victory in Race 1 for the GT World Challenge Australia at the Repco Bathurst 1000, just hours after being released from hotel quarantine.
The factory Audi ace had flown in from his native Germany to help car owner Yasser Shahin win the GT title, and also tackle TCR Australia.
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He was on his way to Bathurst when informed of the need to perform 72 hours of hotel quarantine due to regulations changes following the emergence of the Omicron strain of COVID-19.
With efforts to be granted an early release proving futile, Mies remained in his hotel while practice and qualifying took place on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The two-time Bathurst 12 Hour winner and outright Mount Panorama lap record holder therefore turned his first laps of the weekend in the 60-minute race.
Shahin had qualified second and led the race’s early stages but lost the lead to the Liam Talbot/Fraser Ross Audi just prior to pitting to hand over to Mies.
While Ross held a comfortable lead once the pit stops shook out, Mies was on the charge and swept into the lead with five minutes remaining before going on to victory.
“It was definitely a challenge, but we’re all racers, so we like to take risks and take on a challenge,” Mies told V8 Sleuth of his unique feat.
“Yesterday evening, around 7 or 8 o’clock [quarantine] was officially over, but the first time on the track was straight into the race, fighting for the podium.”
Mies sealed the win by setting the fastest lap of the race on the final lap and was greeted post-race by a thrilled Shahin, who held second place before pitting to hand over the car.
“We were a bit worried because we didn’t get the advantage of him tuning it, which made the battle a bit more rewarding for him for sure,” Shahin told V8 Sleuth.
“But we’ve sealed the title, so he’s done his job. You don’t want it to go down to the wire, so it’s awesome, tomorrow we can just have some fun.”
Mies undertook a total of five COVID-19 tests as part of his travel and subsequent bid to be granted a release but holds no gripes with the system.
“On the way here, I got a text saying I had to do quarantine, but I wasn’t sure if I would actually have to do it, because obviously I had an exemption coming here,” Mies explained.
“We tried everything to get an exemption to go out one day early (and do qualifying).
“I did three PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests here, as well as one before I left, and a rapid-test as well, to show I’m negative.
“In the end they said no, which I think is fair, it’s the same for everyone.
“I definitely would have preferred to do practice sessions of course and not be sitting in a hotel room for three days, but it’s the way it is and I’m happy it’s over.”
The Shahin/Mies Audi will start tomorrow’s second GT World Challenge race from the rear of the grid due to the fact the German was not available for qualifying.
Mies will then take part in Races 2 and 3 of TCR Australia across tomorrow and Saturday.
Fellow import, Japan’s Yoshiaki Katayama, was also in action today in S5000 after serving 72 hours of quarantine.
He was given 10 minutes of track time this morning to familiarise himself with the circuit before tackling Race 1 in the afternoon, where he finished at the tail of the field.