QUOTEBOARD – #7 CASTROL/VODAFONE BMW M6 GT3 – BATHURST 12 HOUR
Talk us through what happened out in the incident?
“I just came up behind another car – we actually had a reasonable pace going – and basically I just tagged the wall on the inside just before the Dipper.
“I was right up behind the other car and lost track of how much real estate I had on the inside. I was trying to line him up for the Elbow, but that is life – just a simple mistake.
“Hitting the inside wall must have broke the steering, which fired it into the outside wall – that was it – lights out.”
How has the whole few months of this program been for you?
“It is a real shame to end like this. Skaifey did a fantastic job, Tony has been great throughout the whole process in putting this whole deal together and Timo has been tremendous. The corporate partners, Castrol, Vodafone, The Boat Works and BMW have been terrific – it is a real disappointment to finish like this – but it is just a typical Bathurst deal – when this place kicks you in the guts, it kicks you pretty good.
“I don’t think I’ve had too many walks back from this place, I think this is one of my first and I can tell you, it doesn’t feel very good.”
It was a premature end, but what a wonderful program this has been.
“Well, we did our best. The Mountain – it just bites you, it is a mongrel place – it either is successful – or a failure and it just bit us today. We just move on from here.
Can you sum up the program that you’ve put together over the past few months?
“I think we did a remarkable job getting the sponsorship together, getting Russell and Mark together along with Timo. All of us have had a really great time together – it’s been a good adventure and a shame that it ended on a low instead of a high – but no one can say we didn’t have a go.”
MARK SKAIFEA sad end to what was looking very promising
“It was an unfortunate way to finish the 12 Hour. The car was very good. I really feel sorry for Russell, it was just a very slight mistake which is an easy one to make in that part of the track, the car sliding down through the esses and bumping the fence on the inside.
“It could happen to any of us, in fact I’ve done it before myself, so it is just one of those things that happen when you are pressing on. At that stage of the race, we were looking for a Safety Car.
“If we got the Safety Car, we were coming in for four new tyres and to fill up and we would have been back on the lead lap. When you are looking for a Safety Car like that, you just don’t know what’s going to happen and unfortunately, we caused the Safety Car that we were looking for.
Explain the experience of this program for you
“It has been unbelievable – I feel really sorry for Tony and for everyone involved because it’s been a hell of a ride. The guys come up with a plan mid-year and we really enjoyed it. To put it together, we’ve got great corporate partners in Castrol and Vodafone, BMW have been wonderful with us and we were genuinely in contention – we genuinely could have won this race.”
“These things can happen – that track (Mount Panorama) just doesn’t give you much room for little mistakes. You know, 12 hours is a long race and until that moment, we were running pretty much trouble free. The bonnet came loose a bit, we fixed that and then at the end was the contact, but things happen like this.
“It was great to be here with the guys, we showed really good speed and we were just going with the pack and trying to survive. It was running quite well.”
You took on the start this morning in the dark, how was that experience?
“It was a good experience for me. The middle of the first stint when we had the Safety Car was really impressive with the sunrise.
“It (the Safety Car) came just at the right moment to enjoy a bit of the sunrise and it looked awesome – I know now why they call it Skyline and it was just a good experience.”
Tell us about this week with the Masters of The Mountain – first time in Australia, not in an open-wheeler, first time at Bathurst:
“When I heard the first time the line-up I was just really proud to be part of it. These guys have so much passion for their sport and throughout the whole weekend they were so motivated, so into detail and trying to improve and looking at where they can improve and save time in pitstops.
“They were on it all the time and that’s really cool to see. They didn’t just show up to take part, they just wanted to be competitive and to be honest it was just an honour to drive with them over the weekend.
“I’m going to try to convince them to come back next year, if we had the chance again it would be great!”]]>