5 February 2017

Mercedes-AMG vs. Ferrari at the half-way point

Mercedes-AMG vs. Ferrari at the half-way point

During hours four to six of the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, opening round of the 2017 Intercontinental GT Challenge, the #88 Maranello Motorsport Ferrari and the #22 Team STM/HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG were the main protagonists in an exciting battle for the race lead. With six hours to go there are still six cars on the lead lap.

The #88 Maranello Motorsport Ferrari of Toni Vilander, Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes was among the frontrunners for most of the race, up until a bizarre incident at one of the restarts. Lowndes, leading from the #22 Mercedes-AMG, was hit by Craig Baird even before the cars crossed the starting line. The Ferrari spun into the gravel trap, but fortunately for Lowndes, he was pulled free before he lost a lap.

Baird was penalized by a ten second Stop & Hold penalty, but even after serving that penalty and thanks to some great strategic choices from the Ferrari camp, both cars were soon back at the front, this time with Jamie Whincup and Shane Van Gisbergen at the wheel. The V8 Supercars stars produced some of the best duels ever seen on the Mount Panorama Circuit, with Van Gisbergen eventually taking the upper hand.

In the GT4 category KTM was leading for most of the race, but an issue with the roof meant it had to leave the class lead to Porsche.