Betta Electrical Team Brock learned first-hand at the weekend why the Bob Jane T-Marts Bathurst 1000 is such a difficult race to win after both of its cars were forced to retire while racing strongly towards top ten finishes.

In possibly the cruellest incident on a day packed with drama, the Team Brock #50 car driven by Paul Weel was severely damaged on lap 44 after ploughing into the side of the stationary Garry Rogers Motorsport #33 Commodore driven by Nathan Pretty at the Skyline section of the track. Later, with just two of the race's 161 laps to run, the Team Brock #16 car driven by Greg Ritter and Marcus Marshall coasted to a stop in pit lane after losing an oil pump belt.

Jason Bright had started the race in the #50 car from 15th on the grid and driven into 10th by Lap 12 when he handed over to Weel, who had continued the charge to be handily placed 6th when the accident occurred.

Immediately prior, the Doulman/Jones Commodore had cut across a sand-trap and left a huge cloud of dust in its wake which cut visibility to just five metres. Pretty, following Doulman, lost control and slammed into the wall, his car left sprawling across the track. Weel then crested Skyline and, confronted with a wall of dust, did not see Pretty's car until evasive action was impossible.

"Just as I came over Skyline the yellow flags started to come out and I saw the cloud of dust," Weel said. "I tried to pull it up as quickly as I could - you don't know if someone's gone straight through [the sand] or spun into the wall like Nathan did. There was nowhere to go, it just stuffed everything.

"The car was really quick, we were running well. It's very disappointing."

Bright said he was shattered to have been knocked out of the race through no fault of the team's. "We were just cruising, the car was great and we were working our way up," he said. "It was hopefully going to pan out exactly the way we wanted it to later on, but we never got the chance to find out."

Ritter, who many surprised observers named after the race as one of the best drivers on the day, said finishing the race had not been an option. "I got a warning on the dash, low oil pressure, and the car started missing very badly," he said. "I basically had to shut the ignition off and roll back into the pits. A pulley fell off the engine that drives the oil pump and a number of other things, so we couldn't have gone on."

"We were going along nicely, we had sixth in the bag, and [Marcos] Ambrose had backed off giving me a hard time for a while. We were definitely on our way to a top 10 result. But that's motor racing, I suppose."

Co-driver Marshall added: "It's a typical motorsport thing - you get the highs and the lows and Bathurst definitely has the highest highs and the lowest lows. It would have been good to at least finish, and you sort of feel a bit cheated after 159 laps that we didn't get to that position that we'd earned."

 

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