Erebus Motorsport’s Brodie Kostecki and Jarrad Filsell led wire-to-wire in the Supercars Eseries at Bathurst last night, making it a perfect night for the drivers in the Boost Mobile Commodore.
Meanwhile trouble was the theme again for Jobe Stewart and his co-driver Jay Robotham, who were struck out early in the race which destroyed hopes of a solid finish.
It was Brodie and Jarrad’s night from start to finish. The #99 Holden started from pole position for the fourth time this season, after a solid qualifying effort from Jarrad secured them a place in the Top 5 Shootout. Brodie then led from the green flag and controlled the race unchallenged, pulling a 6-second gap to the next car.
Jay also got off to a great start, making his way up five positions by the end of the opening lap. Now in P14, Jay showed strength and was punching out quick lap times.
With cars racing in close quarters and tensions high, the 18-year-old tried to make a pass on Jack Le Brocq at the end of lap 3, though locked the rear brakes and ran wide on the exit of the Chase. Jay gathered it up and soldiered on though it wasn’t over yet, with Scott Pye spinning in front of the #9 Holden shortly after. Jay was collected by Pye on his way through McPhillamy Park on lap 4, where both drivers were towed back to pit lane for a quick repair, ultimately now a lap down.
As expected, it was lap 8 where most of the field peeled off to refuel, grab a fresh set of virtual Dunlops and swap out drivers. Jay traded places with Jobe for his run to the flag, meanwhile Brodie stayed out and went two laps longer to give Jarrad fresher rubber at the end.
The Safety Car was deployed at the end of lap 13 and whilst that was good news for car #9, it was untimely for Jarrad whose 8-second gap disappeared. It spiced things up for the sprint to the finish though, with Jake Burton taking advantage of the slip stream to hang onto the back of the #99 on the restart.
Jobe was awarded his lap back and on the restart, tried to slice his way through the field. On lap 15, a battle between Blake Purdie began and lasted right up until the last lap, as the pair alternated positions. Jobe managed to hold him off, with the Academy driver clinching the youngest pairing in the field P21 at the checkered flag.
With three laps to go, Burton looked to make a move on Jarrad for the lead, though the #99 driver was so good across the top of the mountain that no one could get close enough to make a pass. Dayne Warren was the closest though, as he moved up into second and went side-by-side for their last run down Conrod Straight. Jarrad put his car right where he wanted it and prevailed in a nail-biting victory, claiming his first win of the Eseries and third-in-a-row for Brodie.
Brodie Kostecki said: “It was great to be able to pull off the win. My stint was pretty uneventful, I was sort of just running my own race but I was able to build a pretty big gap. We knew that there would probably be a safety car at some point so we tried to look after the tyres. I knew that if I could give the car to Jarrad with a solid lead, he’d be able to look after the tyres and drive us to the finish. It was pretty exciting to watch those final laps with Dane and Jarrad. I knew that Jarrad was going to be able to hold them off, it’s pretty hard to pass around Bathurst, there’s only a few opportunities. He just put the car in the right places at the right time and drove it to the finish.”
Jarrad Filsell added: “It was great to get my first win of the season. I feel like I’ve been knocking on the door for a little while so it’s nice to get that one away, especially at Bathurst. It’s always special to win at Bathurst. I was quietly confident that Brodie would be able to put the car on pole in the shootout. I was really happy with the job that Brodie did, he didn’t do anything too crazy or take any unnecessary risks, he just brought the car home clean for me and then it was my job to do the rest. The last few laps were intense with an untimely safety car deployed for entertainment purposes but it’s always good fun to be under pressure like that. I haven’t been in that situation for a while, I’m usually the one trying to dish it out so it’s good to be on the receiving end every once in a while, it means you’re doing something right.”
Jobe Stewart said: “It was pretty fun to watch Jay for the first few laps, that was the most eventful part of the race for me. I knew we were a lap down heading into my stint so unless we had a safety car, we were going to be sitting at the back the whole time. Then there was a safety car so we got waved around to get back on the lead lap but we didn’t actually have a chance to catch back up to the pack so for the last few laps we sat at the back. I had a bit of a battle with Blake in the last few laps, we went back and forth for a while and I just came out ahead but other than that, it was a fairly uneventful race for me.”
Lastly, Jay Robotham added: “The start of the race was good! I made up a few positions and everything was looking good, we had a decent amount of speed but then I kept locking the rears and we realised that the brake bias wasn’t set to what we normally have it at. So that caused us some problems and I lost a couple of positions, then we got caught up in a crash and that was sort of the race done. Overall though, I had a lot of fun. All the preparation leading up to the event was great. It would have been nice to get some better results, I think without the crash and the braking issues, we could have been up there for a top 10. I think when stuff happens that’s out of your control, it makes you not as disappointed about it. It was great for Brodie and Jarrad to get the win, I know the team is really happy with that.”
The result sees Brodie extend his All Stars lead, while Jarrad closed the gap in the Pro Series and moved back up to third. Meanwhile, Jobe will head into the next round sitting 17th in the standings.
Next week will see the conclusion of this year’s Supercars Eseries with the Pro Series heading to Hungaroring, followed by the All Stars at Watkins Glen.