The Autohaus Hamilton team of Shane Smollen and Rodney Forbes have come home from the Bathurst 12 Hour Event with two podium finishes in the GT3 Cup Challenge. The pair managed to avoid the carnage of the weekend to take first and third positions outright, and first and second in the 997 class.
Smollen was one of the few drivers to make up positions in a rain delayed and shortened race one, going from fifth position to third. After the opening laps of the race were held under safety car conditions, second and third placed drivers Sven Burchartz and Matt Kingsley had heavy contact, putting Burchartz in the wall entering Hell Corner and allowing Smollen to sneak past into third.
The safety car was out again while the wreck was cleared, making a third appearance when Jeff Bobik spun multiple times in Hell Corner, before sliding into the wall heading up Mountain Straight and causing the seven lap race to finish under the safety car.
While all this was going on, Rodney Forbes was out in front, safe from the mishaps further back in the pack.
The skies opened up once again before the second and final race, with the track receiving 80mm of rain in a five minute period. After a lengthy delay, the decision was made to cancel the race because of excess water on the track, making race ones results the final standings for the round.
??learly it was a frustrating weekend,??Smollen commented at the end of the round. ?? think any experience in the wet at Bathurst is good for the future. You put it in your back pocket and pull it out when you need it and at the end of the day, third outright at any track is a pleasing result, especially Bathurst.??/p>
Like Smollen, Forbes was also let down by the abridged round and was keen to go racing under green conditions.
??eather???s obviously been a factor in the whole thing.??Forbes continued, ??e were just unlucky to have the two races at the times when the weather was really bad. It???s disappointing. We would have liked to have gotten out there and had a race and have a bit of fun, but it just wasn???t to be.??/p>
After round one Rodney leads the Mission Foods GT3 Cup Challenge, while Shane Smollen sits in third position. In the 997 Class, Autohaus Hamilton sits first and second, with Forbes narrowly leading Smollen.
Shane Smollen thanks: