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Stars divided on Bathurst 1000 lucky dog

SHANE van Gisbergen and Chaz Mostert have shared contrasting views about the Repco Bathurst 1000’s divisive lucky dog rule.

Introduced to Supercars’ showcase event in 2020, lapped cars are given a wave-by just prior to each Safety Car restart.

It was for that reason that 19 cars finished on the lead lap on Sunday – the equal-highest tally in event history.

Among the notable entries to benefit from the lucky dog was Erebus Motorsport’s Will Brown/Jack Perkins, who recovered from being a lap down almost immediately to finish 10th.

Dick Johnson Racing’s Will and Alex Davison were going even better; the #17 Mustang had been lapped after Alex got bogged on Lap 30, recovered all the way up to effectively fifth, before Will crashed out at Griffins Bend with 20 laps to go.

Mostert, who won the 2021 Peter Brock Trophy and was runner-up this year, threw his support behind the concept.

“I personally like it,” he said.

“I think it’s pretty harsh, you know, all these teams come here every year and sometimes their races don’t go to plan.

“I think it’s pretty rough on teams for six hours if they’re out of the race in the first hour because we refuse to let people get back into the race.

“Shoe on the other foot, I guess if you’re leading and you’ve done everything right, you don’t understand why all these other cars come back into the race and have a chance of winning again, but we’re in entertainment at the end of the day.

“You’ve got all these teams and people who come here and put all this effort in, the least we could do is make a race of it, so I think it’s good.”

There were eight Safety Car periods during the 2022 Great Race. Pic: Nathan Wong

Van Gisbergen, winner in 2020 and 2022, was less sympathetic, believing the rule erodes too much of the challenge involved with conquering The Mountain.

“Ideally it’s good because you want more cars up in the battle and in the race, but it’s too easy to get a lap back,” he said.

“It needs to be more of a challenge with strategy instead of just waiting.

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“You’d see the cars pit (during the Safety Car period) and then they’d get a free kick: they’d have a full tank of fuel and get the wave-around.

“It’s probably a bit easy for them to get the laps back.

“Ideally we need a bigger grid size so we don’t need this stuff. I think we need a bigger grid size.”

For his part, fellow podium finisher Cameron Waters sat on the fence.

“You can be both sides of it. It can work for you or against you,” said the Tickford Racing ace.

“I guess if you’re leading you don’t want it, but we are in the entertainment industry and we want to put on a show for all of our fans, so the more cars in the race the better.”

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