Well… when The Mountain bites, it bites hard. What a devastating end to what could have been a fairy tale ending.
We had an incredible start to the weekend, qualifying second – which gave us a shot at the top ten shootout! Having The Mountain all to yourself is a pretty special moment and to have come away with pole position was just incredible. To have produced the fastest time of the afternoon with a 2:04.0589 was an amazing feeling. A big credit to the team at Erebus Motorsport for giving us mega cars! Having Anton finish third as well was just insane. It was the team’s first ever pole position at Mount Panorama and a moment I’ll never forget. To have both cars in a top ten shootout and to then finish 1 – 3, to start to the biggest race of the year – that was impressive!
The car felt amazing going into Sunday’s race – we got an awesome start and it was a phenomenal feeling leading the race up until lap 135, where it all starting to go horribly wrong. I had a very busy lead up to the event and hadn’t been sleeping very well – so I probably wasn’t in the best shape leading up to the weekend.
I started to get a cramp in my right leg as I was trying to fight Lowndes (after my mind had started to go). As I was trying to select first gear, the cramp in my right leg was then accompanied by a cramp in my left leg. I was in a world of pain; it was the worst feeling I’ve ever had in a race car in my life.
When I pitted to hydrate, I thought my windscreen was foggy, but when the team removed the tear-off and it didn’t get any better, that’s when I realised my vision was stuffed. My vision was diminishing, so I was in a bad state, but I’m too competitive for my own good and I just didn’t want to give up.
At the end of the day, if I stayed out, I would have crashed the car, one hundred percent. The best thing we did was to just put Luke in, but when Alistair (engineer) was asking me ‘Do you want to stay in?’, of course I wanted to stay in – as a racing driver, you never want to get out.
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 deserved better than P13.
It’s onto the Gold Coast next, the final round of the Pirtek Endurance Cup – so I’ll definitely be looking to redeem myself and secure a decent result for the team. We take on the streets of Gold Coast, October 19-12.
See you there!