Maranello Ferrari wins Bathurst 12 Hour as van Gisbergen crashes

The #88 Maranello Ferrari of Toni Vilander, Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup won the 2017 Bathurst 12 Hour, after Mercedes driver Shane van Gisbergen spectacularly crashed late on

Maranello Ferrari wins Bathurst 12 Hour as van Gisbergen crashes

Vilander set up the win with a stunning stint three hours from the end, handing over to Jamie Whincup for the double-stint run to the flag with two hours and 13 minutes to go.

By then it was already advantage #88, but the #22 HTP Mercedes crew went for one last roll of the dice.

With van Gisbergen having taken over from Maro Engel with a little under two hours to go, the team then opted to not change tyres at van Gisbergen's last stop.

That move gave the #22 track position, but within the final hour the Ferrari was able to retake the lead - Whincup pulling off a breathtaking pass down Conrod Straight, with he and Australian Supercars team-mate van Gisbergen bashing doors.

Van Gisbergen later ran into the back of a lapped Porsche car on the exit of The Chase, pitching it into the wall and causing a 10-minute safety car period, for which he served a drive-through.

But that penalty went unserved as van Gisbergen made a mistake in The Esses, slamming into the wall and taking himself and team-mates Engel and Craig Baird out of the race.

"That's not motorsport in my book," said a furious Engel. "I've got to watch out what I'm saying, but all I've seen this weekend is a lot of mistakes from Shane."

That killed off any remaining threat to the #88 Ferrari, Whincup comfortably claiming victory by a lap.

Van Gisbergen's crash did allow the #12 Competition Motorsports Porsche to finish second, Matt Campbell surviving a late crash and subsequent penalty having taken over from Marc Lieb a little over an hour from the finish.

Campbell's penalty dropped the car off the lead lap, with he and team-mates Lieb, Patrick Long, and David Calvert-Jones having to settle for second place.

The #17 Bentley came home third after a quiet last portion of the race, Steven Kane double-stinting to finish 18s behind the Competition Porsche.

John Martin took the #912 Walkinshaw Porsche to fourth, while the #1 Tekno McLaren (Alvaro Parente/Rob Bell/Come Ledogar) recovered from early mechanical dramas to finish fifth.

Class B honours went to the #21 Steve Richards Motorsport Porsche of Dean Grant, Dylan O'Keefe, and David Wall - who was a last-minute sub after Xavier West was ruled out with illness.

The #21 entry finished two laps clear of the #50 Synep Porsche (Adam Cranston/Josh Cranston/Aaron Steer/James Winslow), after the resounding class favourite Grove entry crashed out early with Alex Imperatori at the wheel.

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Toni Vilander grabs Bathurst 12 Hour pole for Maranello Ferrari

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Series GT
Author Andrew van Leeuwen
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