2022 Bathurst 12 Hour: Fog, rain and frustration at The Mountain

David Reynolds had a character-building Bathurst 12 Hour after his Audi R8 evo II finished 11th in last weekend’s event.

Driving the C-Tech Laser/AFS Logistics/One Ledger Accountants #24 Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II, Reynolds co-drove with his regular 2022 GT World Challenge Australia team-mate, Tony Bates, and fellow Supercars driver Cam Waters. The trio faced a high calibre field that included seven Audis and Mercedes in the top Pro-am class fighting for outright honours.

The three-day event saw four practice sessions on the Friday, designed to assist familiarise the lesser experienced ‘bronze’ drivers with the daunting 6.213-kilometre Mount Panorama circuit. Additionally, the pace set in the GT3 cars saw extremely fast lap times: Reynolds’ Supercars qualifying time at Bathurst 2021 was a 2:05.0818, while he set a 2:03.9725 during the 12 Hour’s Practice 6 in the Audi R8 GT3.

“The Audi was amazing to drive, but we had so much bad luck in qualifying and then in the race, so we leave wondering what could have been,” said Reynolds. “That’s Bathurst, though – and that’s what keeps us coming back to The Mountain.”

Sadly the team was unable to show its true pace with issues in qualifying. The session was split into a Pro and Am session, with Bates covering the Bathurst layout in his fastest ever time to be sixth fastest. Reynolds was behind the wheel for the Pro session, however multiple red flags interrupted proceedings, which meant the #24 Audi was unable to set a genuine lap time, instead starting 16th on the grid.

Sunday morning’s 5:15am race start took place in treacherous conditions behind the Safety Car – it was Reynolds who would be behind the wheel for the eventual green flag. In addition to the hazards of racing in the dark, the field was greeted with rain and fog with extremely low visibility.

Regardless, Reynolds climbed through the field with the #24 Audi in the top five for most of the morning, running as high as second as the compulsory pit-stops played out.

Reynolds visited the commentary box where he commented on the conditions.

“When fog is that thick you can’t see where you are going. It’s so dangerous. It’s really bad,” he explained.  “At the start it wasn’t too bad, but when it started to get really foggy, you’re just limited by your vision. When you’re going across the top at 200 kays and you can’t see the next corner or the apex that you’re turning into, it’s game over.”

After seven hours of racing, a tyre delamination while Bates was at the wheel saw the Audi contact the wall exiting Forrest’s Elbow. Damage to the steering arm saw several long pit-stops, dropping the trio from the lead lap and outright contention.

Reynolds will next race the C-Tech Laser/AFS Logistics/One Ledger Accountants #24 Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II on August 5-7 in Round 3 of the 2022 GT World Challenge Australia as part of the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships at Queensland Raceway, Ipswich, Queensland.

Meanwhile, Reynolds will return to his #26 Penrite Racing Ford Mustang with Round 5 of 2022 Repco Supercars Championship, the Pizza Hut Winton SuperSprint, in Victoria.

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