Long term Dayco ambassador, David Russell, starred in the 60th Anniversary Bathurst 1000 held at the Mount Panorama circuit last weekend.
Co-driving with Supercars Championship leader, Brodie Kostecki, in the Coca-Cola powered by Erebus #99 Chevrolet Camaro, Russell set the fastest lap in opening co-driver practice, being the only driver to set a lap time in the 2:05 minute bracket, more than half a second faster than the rest of the field, which included Supercars champions, Jamie Whincup and Garth Tander, among many other highly experienced racers.
Kostecki then confirmed his and Russell’s intentions for the weekend by qualifying on provisional pole position on Friday, followed by the fastest Top 10 Shoot Out lap on Saturday. Despite losing time at turn one with a slight rear slide and some wheelspin, Kostecki blasted the team into pole position by almost half a second.
By Saturday afternoon it was clear that the Russell / Kostecki combination would be the team to beat, fastest in all but one session during the weekend by significant margins. This, along with having no accidents or mechanical issues from the moment their Camaro Supercar rolled out of the team transporter, placed them in a formidable position for the race.
Starting from pole position, Russell made a strong start, slotting into formation behind Whincup to hold second position where he remained until the first driver change under yellow flags on lap 28.
The second safety car of the race was called on lap 40, resulting in a double stack pit stop with Russell and Kostecki the first of the two Erebus Camaros to be serviced.
On lap 64 the second driver change occurred, with Russell taking the wheel for his final 27 lap stint as the unchallenged race leader. Another safety car was deployed on lap 70 when James Moffat hit the wall at the top of the mountain. Unfortunately, the team had pitted just six laps earlier, so the #99 charged on, but eventual winner (Kiwi Camaro duo Shane Van Gisbergen and Richie Stanaway) gained a 13 second fuel advantage over Russell and Kostecki.
The Erebus duo led a total of 38 laps and despite Kostecki’s fast pace in the closing stages, it wasn’t enough to beat the Kiwis. The pair’s second place was also the second podium Bathurst 1000 finish for the Kostecki and Russell enduro pairing in three years and followed a second-place finish at the Sandown 500 in September.
While Bathurst victory was the ultimate goal, Russell, Kostecki and their hard-working team did all they could to win Australia’s great race.
“It was a bit nerve-wracking from the start with Whincup alongside me on the grid and he has a few more Supercar race starts than me under his belt,” said Russell.
“I got off to a reasonable start and slotted in behind him and started applying pressure and this enabled us both to open a gap to the rest of the field. From that point it was a matter of setting consistent laps with no mistakes to hand the car back to Brodie in good shape.
“Brodie was outstanding as always and the team did an excellent job, mega car speed, great pit work, we had everything in place to try and win it. We’ll be back next year even stronger and faster, that’s for sure.
The Dayco sponsored racer performed double duties at Bathurst again this year, piloting his EBM Porsche Carrera Cup car in three races. Russell was joined by a new sponsor for the high-profile round, Australian family-owned tool company, Prokit, which promoted its “trade trusted” PK Tool brand on Russell’s #99 Porsche Cup Car.
After leading Carrera Cup qualifying on Thursday, a fuel pressure problem late in the session meant Russell was unable to complete the session, relegating him to ninth grid position for the first of three races. With prior Bathurst Porsche Carrera Cup race wins and fastest laps under his belt, Russell again showed his Mount Panorama speed, gaining grid position four for Sunday’s final race. As luck had it, Russell’s PK Tool Porsche was rear impacted on the first lap by a competitor, relegating him to 14th by the end of the short nine lap race.
A massive weekend crowd of 204,069 people attended the event, the third highest ever, with many millions more watching on television and live streaming.
According to Dayco Australia Managing Director, Arnold Mouw, the company’s highly successful, long-term association with Russell continues to deliver valuable automotive trade and enthusiast coverage for the global company.
“We couldn’t be prouder of what ‘Dayco Dave’ has achieved at Bathurst this year, he just gets faster and faster across the 12 years that he has been an ambassador for our company and his effort this year at Bathurst was just incredible,” said Mouw.
“As sponsor of the fastest Supercar co-driver in the field, all of us at Dayco look forward to next year at the mountain where I’m sure that the next step up on the podium beckons.”
The Dayco brand could not be missed at Mount Panorama this year with the company supporting talented Super2 driver Aaron Love, who won one of the races of the weekend in an inaugural Supercar race victory for the Blanchard Racing Team. Dayco was also aboard the Blanchard Racing Team / CoolDrive Mustang with Todd Hazelwood and Tim Blanchard in the Bathurst 1000, who were heading towards a points earning finish until mechanical failures ended their challenge.