Mitsubishi Dominates Podium On Lancer Evolution’s Debut
After 1,500 kilometres of fierce, non-stop competition Mitsubishi’s Lancer Evolution has triumphed, dominating the nation’s largest production car endurance race and claiming all three steps on the podium at the Bathurst 12 Hour.
Around the historic Mount Panorama circuit the all-wheel drive Lancer Evolution proved the vehicle of choice with reigning 12 Hour Champions Rod Salmon, Damien White and Tony Longhurst backing up from their 2008 victory in their Skwirk Interactive Schooling backed machine.
"It’s one of the most spectacular results I could hope for, and the TMR Skwirk Evo has been faultless," said driver and team owner Rod Salmon. "We came here and knew what we wanted to do, and it’s a big ask to win once – to win twice is a real fairytale, a dream come true."
Run by Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Australia and guided by the hugely experienced Alan Heaphy, the trio of Salmon, Longhurst and White held off a late charge by the sister West Surfing Products Lancer Evolution of Glyn Crimp, Stuart Kostura and Tony Ricciardello.
In the end White and Ricciardello fought out the final hour of the race and crossed the finish line to grab the top two placings split by just 6.4 seconds.
"After four 1000km races, this was my first 12 Hour race and it was a great experience. It has been a good bonding experience and it was even better to make the podium. Overall, it was a great team effort and big wraps must go to Glyn and Stuart," said Ricciardello.
Both teams praised the incredible performance and reliability their vehicles displayed over the course of the weekend.
"Reliability wasn’t an issue all weekend and everything ran like clockwork," said Ricciardello.
Alan Heaphy backed up the sentiments of Salmon and Ricciardello. "How much better can you get, the 12 Hour win and the second-fastest lap time with one car, and second place and the lap record with the other," said Heaphy.
"We came here in 1991 with Nissan GT-R’s and blitzed them, and we’ve done the same now with the Evo. Brilliant."
Sporting the vastly experienced duo of Jason Bargwanna and Brad Jones the final place on the podium fell to the ProDuct Motorsport Lancer Evolution. A host of pit stops throughout the day to investigate a fuel pickup problem the only blight on the duos performance.
"We just continued to circulate all day, stayed out of trouble, had 19 pit stops due to a fuel pick up problem, so all in all it is very busy race but it was pleasing to get up here on the podium at Bathurst," said Bargwanna.
2009 WPS Bathurst 12 Hour Showroom Enduro Outright Results – Top Ten
1 #1 R.Salmon/T.Longhurst/D.White – Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution – 239 laps
2 #55 G.Crimp/T.Ricciardello/S.Kostera – Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
3 #35 J.Bargwana/S.Knight/B.Jones – Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution – 238 laps
4 #43 D.Wall/D.Wall/T.Symonds – Mitsubishi Evo IX GSR – 237 laps
5 #11 B.Morcom/L.Searle/P.Stubber – BMW 335i
6 #3 S.Jones/K.Wade/A.Caratti – Mitsubishi Evo IX – 235 laps
7 #23 S.Briffa/M.Zukanovic/T.Sipp – Holden VE R8 Clubsport – 231 laps
8 #20 G.Holt/P.Morris/R.Shaw – BMW 335i – 228 laps
9 #24 G.Walden/B.Walden/M.Auld – Holden Commodore SS
10 #62 T.Leahey/P.Hill/E.Bana – Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.