Jake Dennis was one of the stars of the Bathurst 12 Hour, setting quick lap times all weekend long and leading the race in the beautiful grey number 62 R-Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT3. The Briton led the charge for the team’s first adventure in GT3 at Mount Panorama and came oh-so close to victory.
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With half an hour remaining, Dennis was steering his Aston Martin around Mount Panorama with a comfortable lead when after hours upon hours of green-flag racing, one of the KTM X-Bow GT4s gave up the ghost at the ghastly fast Conrod Straight, triggering the final Safety Car situation of the day. The lead built up by Dennis and co-drivers Matthieu Vaxivière and Marvin Kirchhöfer over the past hours evaporated into thin air.
Worst of all: Earl Bamber Motorsport Porsche 991 GT3R racer Matt Campbell was the only one of the frontrunners sent off for the final hour on new tyres.
“I got a bit annoyed when the Safety Car came out,” says Dennis.
“I knew we’d be going up against it then as we were also on old tyres and I was managing quite a few things in the car. I could see Raffaele Marciello was also struggling, so he was sort of my buffer and I was pulling away quite comfortably on the first two, three laps after the restart.
“And then I saw the Porsche come in like a rocket. It had fresh tyres and over the mountain section we were struggling a little bit on the older tyres.”
Campbell made a no holds barred attack on the inside into Forrest’s Elbow for the lead, wrestling his way around the Aston Martin and speeding off to victory.
“He made a good move. It was on the limit for the both of us, but he got it done. There was nothing I could do to get the position back: My tyres were finished, my brakes were finished. I just had to get it home.
“As long as there is no investigation… He wouldn’t have gotten past if he didn’t hit me. But what can I say? I’ll leave it down to the officials. It was tight, he didn’t have much room left to the wall and I didn’t have anywhere else to go. We made contact which pushed me wide and then he got through. But whatever happens, happens.”
Dennis followed the All Black Porsche at eyeshot distance over the finish, taking the silver.
“Nevertheless, if someone said to me I was gonna make the podium on a rookie team – all three of us are here for the first time – I would’ve been happy. But obviously, to lose it the way we have is hard to take.
“It’s been an incredible job of the whole team and I have to thank them and my team-mates who have done a good job.”