Saturday, February 8, 2014

Bathurst 12 Hour: Equity-One secures P2 Class B start for Bathurst 12-Hour‏

Equity-One Motorsport Press Release

Equity-One secures P2 Class B start for Bathurst 12-Hour
2014 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12-Hour
Mount Panorama, Bathurst, NSW (February 7-9)

The Equity-One Motorsport Audi R8 LMS has secured second place in Class B after qualifying for tomorrow’s Bathurst 12-Hour, with experienced V8 Supercar driver Dean Fiore set to start the race from the eighth row after recording a 2:08.4130 lap in the first of three qualifying sessions.

The result saw a half second improvement over the team’s 2013 qualifying time, although those improvements were hampered by a string of red-flag incidents. In the end the stunning maroon and white Equity-One R8 was just four tenths slower than the similar Audi of Class B rivals Oakley Motorsports.

With team-leader Dean Koutsoumidis running ‘double-duty’ in the Radical support category, qualifying came down to the experienced Fiore to set the pace for the team, and he admitted to being surprised at the carnage that unfolded in front of him during the early stages of the opening session.

“I’ve never experienced anything like that, it takes a lot of getting used to,” he admitted. “When Brighty (Jason Bright) lost the Audi and got hit by a Porsche I squeezed up against the wall as I went past. I was well and truly on the grass - I didn’t even know there was grass in that spot! I was super lucky to get through.”

Whilst good enough at that stage for fourteenth on the grid, the car dropped a position during the second qualifying session after Koutsoumidis, Dean Grant and Michael Loccisano failed to improve on Fiore’s benchmark time.

“I sat out the second qualifying session, the other guys need the miles in the car now,” Fiore explained. “I’ve done plenty. I’m content rather than happy but I know there is a lot more in the car so we should be quicker tomorrow.”

Back from a tough debut on the mountain in a Radical SR3 [open-top prototype-style sportscar], Koutsoumidis admitted that whilst the limited laps due to ongoing incidents on circuit wasn’t ideal, that there would be plenty of time for the three non-professional drivers to work themselves into contention tomorrow.

“Look, I’m comfortably quicker than I was last year, Dean [Grant] is comfortable and Michael is settling into a nice rhythm so we’ll be okay. It’s not idel, but between us we have 12 hours to sort it out tomorrow, so it will be okay..”

Equity-One Team Manager Scott Mansfield agreed. “The car is great. We don’t have any problems. The two Deans and Michael all drove in the second session and they are all happy. Our pace actually improved after the red flag.”

Mansfield confirmed that Fiore would start the race with Dean Grant taking the second stint. Post qualifying the team began a pre-race full service, changing oil and filters, checking brakes and doing a full spanner-check on the car. 

Fortunately they have so far emerged relatively unscathed, although Fiore got tagged during his opening session in the car, the damage though mostly cosmetic. 

“To be honest, I thought someone had thrown something at the car, it was that kind of noise,” Fiore reflected. “It wasn’t till later I realised I’d tagged another car that have moved across on me as I went past. Sadly it triggered a bigger incident as a result, but we were okay and no-one was hurt. I have to admit it did make me think about the big difference between what I am used to with V8 Supercars, and driving amongst non-professional drivers, there’s a big difference in experience and ultimately speed, but I guess that’s all a part of the GT style experience.”

With all the practice and qualifying out of the way, it all comes down to race day and at 6:15pm on Sunday afternoon, all the pre-event speculation and postulating will come to an end. As for where the Equity-One team will end up, that’s in the lap of the gods, but you can rest assured that whilst their goal may be a place in the history books, they’re sure to go through the 12 hours of Bathurst tomorrow with broad smiles and plenty of laughter..

2014 Bathurst Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12-Hour


Sunday, February 9
Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12-Hour: 6:15am (12-Hours)

Event coverage;
 the final 3-hours of the race broadcast on SBS (3:30pm AEST, Sunday February 9)
 live webcast of the event (including commentary from Radio Le Mans)
• post-produced coverage of the event on SBS with replays on SPEED TV (Foxtel)

Equity-One Motorsport is proudly supported by Equity-One Mortgage Fund, Hallmark, VodkoO and Melbourne Performance Centre

Photo credit: Melbourne Performance Centre