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The unseen moment that swung Triple Eight battle

A MOMENTARY fumble at pit exit following his first stop may have been all that cost Will Brown victory on his debut for Triple Eight at the Thrifty Bathurst 500.

Brown had upstaged teammate Broc Feeney to score pole for the 250km season-opener before holding the ascendancy off the start and through the first stint.

However, Brown was the first of the duo to pit and remained behind Feeney when the latter made his own stop and returned to the track.

Feeney leading Brown during Race 1. Pic: Supplied

The order remained that way through the second round of stops and to the chequered flag, which the field took behind the Safety Car.

“Obviously in the pits we had a bit of a change of the lead, but I stuffed up on pit exit,” Brown revealed post-race.

“I didn’t get my pit button (off) quick enough and lost a bit of time out of there unfortunately in that first stop.

“I think that might have just allowed me to jump him, but the overcut was quite strong as well with him pitting a lap later.

“I’m not sure but, overall, I’m not too worried, it’s very early in the season and it’s really good points. But you always want to get that win, that’s for sure.”

Triple Eight team principal Jamie Whincup echoed Brown’s feeling that the change of positions was the result of both the driver’s mistake and the decision to pit that car first.

“#87 (Brown) had track position, so they got the call. They elected to pit,” Whincup told V8 Sleuth.

“The overcut was quite powerful, plus Will had a bit of an issue exiting the pits, so those two things combined meant that he was behind #88 and from there he had the advantage in strategy. It’s a good problem to have.

“Andrew (Edwards, engineer for Brown) did say, ‘sorry Will, it was my fault’. But it wasn’t his fault, it was no one’s fault, it’s the side-effect of two fast cars going hard.”

The Triple Eight Camaros climb the Mountain. Pic: Supplied

Regardless, the result was the 16th time in 19 years that Triple Eight has won the opening race of the season.

It also marked the squad’s 65th one-two finish and a strong start to its new era without superstar Shane van Gisbergen.

“To get maximum points in the first race, that’s a big deal to us and one that we’ll take some strength from,” said Whincup.

“With this live pitlane, it’s critical to get some good team points early in the season.”

Triple Eight finished one-two in last year’s season-opener in Newcastle, only for both cars to be disqualified due to incorrectly positioned cool-boxes.

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