Mercedes team mates fume as crash leaves Ferrari to win at Bathurst

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The punishing Mount Panorama circuit witnessed a dramatic conclusion to the Bathurst 12 Hours which left the Mercedes team mates at loggerheads and the Ferrari trio victorious.

Bathurst 12 Hours

Mount Panorama–ozpQ

Aston Martin, Bathurst 12 Hours, 2017
Toni Vilander, Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup won the 2017 Bathurst 12 Hour in the #88 Ferrari after Shane van Gisbergen crashed the chasing Mercedes #22 car late on.

The #88 looked in control after an impressive stint three hours from the end from Vilander, who then handed over to Whincup to take it to the end. However the #22 crew had a trick up their sleeves, and opted not to change van Gisbergen’s tyres at his final stop to give him track position.

The joy was short lived however, as within the final hour Whincup pulled a breathtaking move down Conrod Straight, bashing door mirrors with his rival. Van Gisbergen’s day meanwhile was about to go from bad to worse to atrocious, as he first shunted a back marker Porsche out of the way and earned a penalty. Before he could serve it – or even be told about it however – he’d put the car in the wall and was out of the race.

Maro Engel fumed at his team mate’s performance, telling media at the track: “That’s not motorsport in my book. I’ve got to watch out what I’m saying, but all I’ve seen this weekend is a lot of mistakes from Shane. It’s a tough one.” He later apologised for his comments, while van Gisbergen apologised for his driving.

This left Whincup to take an uncontested victory ahead of the #12 Porsche of Matt Campbell, Marc Lieb, Patrick Long, and David Calvert-Jones and #17 Bentley of Oliver Jarvis, Steven Kane and Guy Smith.

Over to you

Maro Engel was ruthless in his assessment of his team mate Shane van Gisbergen’s driving, but what did you make of it? And did you watch any racing action last weekend that we haven’t covered? Please let us know in the comments below.

Next weekend the brand new World Rally Championship cars will tackle the only pure snow event on the calendar in Rally Sweden.

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16 comments on “Mercedes team mates fume as crash leaves Ferrari to win at Bathurst”

  1. Easy to pick the sportsman of the two. Van Gisbergen’s post-race interview showed class and maturity whereas Engel’s dummy-spit and door-slamming was just the opposite. As they say, win as a team, lose as a team.

    1. @pault I don’t think we should criticise drivers for getting emotional in the heat of a competition. A little more of Engel’s passion wouldn’t go amiss in F1, where it sometimes feels like we have a grid of 20 corporate robots.

      1. Every time a driver shows his humanity, people complain, but when they don’t show it, the same people are still complaining.

        1. FlyingLobster27
          6th February 2017, 16:07

          No problem with Engel kicking the dustbin in frustration and leaving for the trailer. But he put himself out to get interviewed in the heat of the moment and said, in a nutshell, “I should be careful what I say here, but my team-mate kinda sucks”.
          In endurance racing, “team-mate” doesn’t necessarily refer to someone in another car, so such criticism is way more significant and damaging than if someone in a more solitary sport like F1 came out with it. Still bad PR, but yeah, you can get away with saying “he was having his own race, didn’t manage it well and cost the team points”. On the other hand, in endurance racing, a driver’s actions impact at least one more who shares the car, and van Gisbergen was rightly deeply apologetic for throwing away a podium finish for himself, Engel and Baird.

        2. The same people? Really? Isn’t it more plausible that there are a group who like the immature dummy-spits, while a whole other group prefer the cardboard cutout automatons?

  2. Van Gisbergen has proven his talent as one of the greats in touring cars down under, having beaten his decorated team mate Whincup in equal machinery at the first chance and taken the 12 hours previously. The only thing SVG has been guilty of is trying to win everything and that makes for a good racer IMO.

  3. I didn’t watch any of it, but it’s … interesting when a driver criticises another driver he shares the car with. In fact, my impression so far was that the atmosphere within a team is usually so cuddly in endurance racing that I can’t remember ever having heard such unambiguous criticism. Be it justified or not.

    1. It’s not uncommon to see a bit of friction between the team members of the temporary alliances when something goes wrong at Bathurst. I think it’s because it’s such a challenging track that you feel really invested in having done a good job with your stint that when someone else messes up theirs it’s just that much more upsetting.

  4. The team failed by not informing him of the penalty immediately. He was pushing for a win on cold, worn tyres, when it was never on the cards.

    I guess his fault was more the bump on the back of the Porsche in the first place. Engel was right to be upset I guess and SVG made no excuses.

    1. It is normal SOP to only talk to the drivers when they are on Conrod Straight, and he hadn’t reached that far.
      Would you want the team talking to you when you’re going over Panorama Mountain?

  5. Endurance racing can be a yawn, though this was a enjoyable race from lights out to the flag with lots of safety cars and no serious shunts, and masterful driving over the mountain by a lot of the V8 supercar drivers..all the makes had advantages and disadvantages..loved it!!

  6. Engel has the right to be frustrated and angry with the result.However to go at Shane for his errors was not on.The car was in that fight for the lead because Shane is such a proven gun driver.I do believe he should have been informed of his penalty as soon as it was handed down.The car would have still finished second.Great race to be at with car and driver quality as good as it gets.

  7. Within 2 laps after being passed … He pushed the Porsche off the track. A private team who had done well for 11h45mins. He trashed his own car in his impatience. AND then deliberately parked his trashed car in the MIDDLE of the track, after every opportunity and half a lap to leave it somewhere safe, forcing the safety car to come out. He did disgrace motorsport and himself and let the team down. Don’t care if he’s a gun driver. Not suitable.

    1. +1. It looked to me like SVG had 15 minutes of red mist:
      1. Forced Whincup partially onto the grass on Conrod Straight in a desperate defensive move when he was clearly outpaced by the Ferrari
      2. Punted a lapped car off the track
      3. Spun his own car into a wall
      4. Having lost all power (burst radiator) coasted 2km down Conrod hoping to reach pit (not possible) and when that didn’t work he stopped in the middle of the track to maximise disruption to the race

      I wonder if his team had told him that the Ferrari had fresh tyres (SVG’s were old) and helped him to conclude that fighting for the win might have been out of reach.

      Re Engel’s comments, the moment SVG crashed Engel himself saw red and stormed from the pit bay to the motorhome. A camera crew was present in the pit bay and followed him to the motorhome, then waited for him to emerge. Engel’s just gained some experience with the media.

  8. Bathurst is one of the best tracks in the world IMHO

  9. Lol reads entierly like F1… Mercedes pair throws it away Ferrari picks up win.

    Other than that a fair reminder what would happen if we lost blue flag rules in F1… I say it would be amazing.. Including crashes like this.

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