Two unheralded combinations came close to taking top six results against the odds in Sunday's Supercheap Autos Bathurst 1000, only to be robbed by incidents in the latter stages of the near seven-hour marathon.

While Toll HRT team-mates Garth Tander and Mark Skaife struggled to live up to their reputation as a startline stall and penalty, then contact with the wall, stymied what many expected to be a shot at victory, less-fancied team-mates Craig Baird and Glenn Seton were able to chase a fairytale.

Despite his lengthy touring car career, Seton has never won at Bathurst, but was at least well-placed to snatch an unlikely podium before Baird being shunted into a wall by an ambitious Warren Luff.

The #2 Commodore was racing strongly in fourth place on lap 147 of 161, when Baird was passed by Max Wilson on the approach to turn two following one of many safety car restarts. Luff thought he saw an opening to Baird's inside but, heavily clipping the kerb on the inside of the turn, nudged the red-and-white Holden into a gentle spin that buried the Kiwi's front-end into the tyre wall on the outside of the corner. The impact was hard enough to ended the HRT pair's day.

"I was happy with our speed from where I sat, considering we're part-timers," Baird commented after making his way back to the pits, "It probably took a little long to settle into the car, but that's what happens when you don't do many miles and you're not in the car all year.

"Everyone has a war story at the end of the day, but I just would have liked to have finished fourth or fifth for 'Seto'. The bloke gives it his all every year around here for stuff all return and it's sad to see."

There was a similarly sorry tale for the Rod Nash Racing team of Tony d'Alberto and Jason Bargwanna, which came within two laps of finishing sixth before the less-experienced member of the pairing hit the same turn two wall.

The team had had a dream run to that point, with the crew planning an excellent strategy which was barely deviated from. This, combined with a reliable car and nothing short of exceptional driving by both pilots, put them in a strong position for the closing stages, with d'Alberto putting in his fastest lap of the race on lap 156 as he pulled away from Fabian Coulthard and Will Davidson.

Ironically, however, Baird's shunt could have played a part in the green-and-white Bottle-O Holden exiting stage left, as d'Alberto appeared to run wide and lose control on fluid left by the HRT car.

Baird and Seton were eventually classified 22nd, with d'Alberto and Bargwanna one place better off as the first of the listed retirements in 21st spot.