Smoke streams from under the bonnet of Fabian Coulthard’s car as he coasts to the side of the track, provoking another safety car with 40 laps remaining. Track is still bathed in bright sunshine. One of my predictions is still in the top five, two others in the top ten, but pit stops under the yellow flag are making a nonsense of the on-track placings. And if events progress the way they have so far in this race, fuel stops will determine the final result.
Jason Richards has a moment at the Chase, and Tander is being instructed to conserve fuel. Lowndes’ clutch has just failed – that bodes ill for their chances of a fourth win in a row. Johnson’s left front tyre is pointing out to the side; another safety car? Hope not.
2. Ritter/ Besnard
3. T Kelly/R Kelly
5. Lowndes/ Whincup
“You’ve just got to stand up in the saddle and do the numbers.” I know they’re racing around a mountain, but I don’t see the connection between accountants and cowboys.
Another safety car, after Dean Canto stuffed his car into the concrete barriers coming out of Skyline. Damn damn damn but that’s bad timing!
Biting my nails, biting my nails, we’re at the pointy end with only 15 laps to go... come ON, Murph! Now he’s six-tenths faster than anyone else but he’s running out of race distance back in 7th spot after a pit stop under the yellow. 14 cars remaining on the lead lap.
Oh noes! Car 15 has crashed, dropping oil at the Cutting. Everyone is sliding all over the place; I can’t breathe.
Car 16 is stuck in the kitty litter prompting a safety car, with only four laps to go. Unless they get that car out quickly the end result is a foregone conclusion. Nup, it’s out, and we’ll have three more laps under green. My heart is pounding, I cant breathe. Murph is still having a go, he’s driving the arse off the Holden in his attempt to get a podium finish. I’m screaming at the tv for him to just bring the bloody thing home.
And finally they finish thus:
1. Tander/W Davison
2. J Richards/ McConville .760
3. Holdsworth / Caruso 3.384
4. Murphy/Skaife 3.388
5. Lowndes/ Whincup 4.658
After 161 laps, over more than 6 and a half hours, only .004 seconds separated third from fourth. What an awesome finish to the greatest race on earth.