Erebus Penrite Racing have suffered absolute heart ache after victory hopes unravelled at the Bathurst 1000 today.
David Reynolds and Luke Youlden looked set to join an elite group of driver pairings, until fatigue cruelled their bid for back-to-back victories.
Starting from pole position, the Erebus entry was the dominant force and lead the race up until lap 135, leading all but 23 laps to that point.
Dave was on a charge in the final stints and beat his own lap record, a 2:06.1493, on lap 103.
The #9 Holden was able to pull away from the field and build a hefty gap before suffering from a leg cramp.
Dave took some additional fluids in his final pit stop in a bid to keep his lead, but unfortunately was forced to return to pit lane a further two times.
Ultimately Luke finished their almost-dream run, bringing home the pole-sitter in 13th.
Rookies Anton De Pasquale and Will Brown had added to Erebus’ joy all weekend, although their weekend also came undone on lap 139.
It was a picture-perfect moment off the start line. Anton, starting third, making a good getaway and immediately moving up behind David before the first corner.
The young pair kept experienced players at bay in the opening laps and managed to stay in the mix, even after suffering a mechanical black flag early in the piece.
The #99 ran as high as eighth and as the fuel strategies played out in the ending stints, they were set for something greater, but Anton touched the wall at the top of the mountain.
The tap caused enough damaged to bring his car into pit lane, although the #99 eventually returned to the field and came home 24th.
“What a devastating day. It was so incredible right up until that moment it all went wrong. We had such a fast car, we were faultless on and off the track and Luke was the top performing co-driver. In hindsight, I should have opted for Luke to get in 20 laps earlier and let him take it home. I am gutted for the entire team, they did so well all weekend and I’m disappointed to not give them another result, they really deserve it.”
“How cool was it to have 1-2 in the opening lap? It’s been a phenomenal weekend. It was pretty cool to lead a couple restarts and be able to pull away from the field, it’s a good feeling to see the competition disappear in your mirrors. It was an easy race up until lap 135. We showed we had the fastest car and our dominance leading so many laps. The last 12 months went really fast so I’m praying the next 12 go even faster so we can get back here. The team’s amazing, the cars fast and we can look forward to getting back here and doing it again.”
Anton De Pasquale:
“Overall it’s been an awesome week being a part of my first Bathurst. Starting from third and getting a really good start, going over the top of the hill the first time behind Dave was really special. The race obviously went a little bit downhill from there, the mechanical black flag hurt us early and put us back, but we were able to work our way back through and get comfortable inside the top pack. Unfortunately, a small error cost us in a big way and we weren’t able to finish where we should have but it’s still be an amazing weekend and it exceeded my expectations.”
“Anton and I had an awesome race; it was cool having Anton get such a good start and seeing both Erebus Penrite cars across the mountain 1-2 was pretty cool. From there our race went downhill a little bit; the door wasn’t latching, and we got a meatball flag which put us back. I had a really good stint though and we were able to get back inside the top ten which was really good. I think we were on for an easy top ten after such a hard start. I’ve said it a lot this weekend, the atmosphere is awesome here and I’ve enjoyed every moment, it’s the best team I’ve ever been with.”