THE fastest car at Mount Panorama this weekend will not win the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.
Chaz Mostert crashed out of the race in the tenth hour while bottled up in a battle with the No. 17 Bentley of Steven Kane and the No. 991 Porsche of Kevin Estre for third place.
The trio came up on the slower Class B No. 40 Porsche of Kean Booker across the top of the Mountain, when the four of them came together coming out of Forrest’s Elbow.
The resulting chain reaction sent Booker spearing heavily into the concrete wall on the right, while Kane’s Bentley shot back to the left and cleaned up Mostert’s BMW, while Estre’s Porsche miraculously escaped being further involved.
All but Booker’s BMW made it back to the pits, the Bentley returning to the race several laps down after repairs but out of contention for the win, while the Schnitzer BMW was retired.
Mostert politely declined to talk to the TV coverage in the immediate aftermath, but Kane’s Bentley teammate Guy Smith wasn’t shy in giving his point of view.
“It was horrendous. It was terrible driving by Mostert,” Smith told 7.
“He was hitting Estre coming down the hill, I don’t know why, then he hit Steven coming out of the corner onto the straight.
“Put his car out of the race with three hours to go. I don’t know what he was thinking. Not the smartest bit of driving I’ve seen.”
Estre felt Mostert had become frustrated and “took a bit too much risk,” admitting it was only luck that saw him clear the incident as it unfolded.
Mostert’s co-driver Marco Wittmann defended his teammate’s driving, suggesting it was a racing incident.
“Chaz tried, he was pushing for it,” Wittman told 7.
“When the heat came out we struggled a bit for pace and lost ground, especially on top speed. We had to find somewhere to make our move, somewhere not in a straight line.
“He tried it; that happened. It’s racing.
“It’s a shame we have to stop the race now. We were in good shape, still looking for a podium, and with two hours to go anything could have happened.”
MOSTERT: MY SPACE BECAME NO SPACE
Mostert later explained the incident from his point of view, expressing his frustration at ending the race early for his team.
“I was really struggling to try and get past the Porsche and the Bentley. The only way I was going to get past them was to try and take advantage of some lapped traffic,” Mostert told 7.
“I had a crack around the outside of the Elbow, and then my space became no space. Basically hurt all three of our races.
“To have Schnitzer out here all the way from Germany and not finish is disappointing. It’s an absolute shame, but there are a lot of positives to take away from the weekend. Let’s see if I get the invite back next year.
“Two years in a row I haven’t finished this race; let’s see if it’s lucky number three.”
UPDATE: Stewards handed Mostert a $2,000 fine – $1,000 suspended – for his role in the accident.