Rotek Racing’s Bathurst victory hopes crumble
Rotek Racing was pulled out of the running with mechanical issues while battling for victory during the fourth hour of the 2014 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hours endurance race on Australia’s Mount Panorama circuit (7-9 February).
A superlative qualifying performance by four-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner, Oliver Gavin, ensured Rotek Racing started the once-around-the-clock enduro from the Class B pole position and 13th overall.
The Briton was subsequently nominated to complete the opening stint of the race and duly continued his master class by dragging the team up the order to not only lead Class B, but the race outright on two occasions.
Richard Meins picked up the baton at the two-hour mark, building an indomitable one-lap lead over the rest of the competition, after the race was interrupted by a spectacular incident on the mountain involving front-running Ferrari 458 Italia and Nissan GT-R entries.
Another heavy crash for a Class A Lamborghini at The Dipper followed and the Safety Car was deployed. It was at this moment that Rotek’s striking Audi R8 LMS developed a curious misfire.
The cause of the misfire remained a mystery as the Nurburgring and Somona-based team frantically carried out numerous system resets and pitstops. However, the crew eventually had to admit defeat, eventually identifying a damaged valve spring in the Audi’s V10 motor as the perpetrator.
The disappointment was clear for all to see, but Rotek Racing’s Robb Holland and the team’s four drivers – Gavin, Meins, Rob Huff and Kevin Gleason – all remained philosophical about the situation.
“To end the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hours in this manor is clearly disappointing but, on the flipside, Rotek Racing has shown so much promise and potential this weekend,” said Holland. “This is only the team’s first attempt at Bathurst and to have superstar drivers, including Rob (Huff) and Oliver (Gavin), along for the ride demonstrates that Rotek is already making a mark in the highest echelons of international motorsport.
“I’m proud of what the team and our drivers have achieved in Australia, taking pole position in class and leading the race. I think we can carry this undeniable speed to Europe in the German VLN Endurance Championship at the Nurburgring and the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC).”