Queenslander snatches historic win at Bathurst 12 Hour
QUEENSLAND driver Matt Campbell snatched a historic victory for Porsche in a drama-fuelled Bathurst 12 Hour, taking the lead with only nine minutes left of the mammoth race around Mount Panorama.
It looked like it would be redemption for Jake Dennis and his R-Motorsport Aston Martin after being stripped of the Allan Simonsen Trophy late on Saturday night, but it was yet more pain for the Englishman after a stunning move by Campbell saw him squeeze his No.912 Porsche past to steal the lead and the victory.
Dennis was forced to settle for second, while a four-way battle for the final place on the podium went to Raffaele Marciello who just about managed to cling on with a relentless Shane van Gisbergen following him over the finish line by less than a car length.
The Triple Eight man missed out by on third by two tenths of a second, ahead of Supercars rival Chaz Mostert, and fell out on his car onto the tarmac such was the effort he put into his drive.
It was Campbell who took the main plaudits as he and his EBM teammates Dirk Werner and Dennis Olsen saw Porsche celebrate their first win at the Bathurst 12 Hour.
EMB team owner Earl Bamber said: "We wanted it badly. You see the guys celebrating here. I have to thank all of the team. We worked flat out. This team is a monster. Matty Campbell - an incredible drive, he didn't put a foot wrong. It was an incredible race. Nail biting!"
The late drama began when, with little over 30 minutes remaining of the race, the No.50 KTM driven by Tim Macrow stopped on Conrod Straight, triggering confusion whether a safety car would be brought out for the first time in nearly eight hours.
The safety car eventually did come out and the Triple Eight driven by Van Gisbergen, who was running in fifth at the time, came in to get a fresh set of tyres in a gamble to try and push ahead and claim a podium place.
At the restart Dennis held his nerve perfectly to continue in the lead, with Marciello, Campbell and Mostert closely following behind.
That sparked an almighty scramble for not only the lead but third place as well, with Marciello driving expertly in a fading car to see off Van Gisbergen's courageous challenge.
Mostert and his BMW were leading at the halfway stage after the first six hours were marred by safety car after safety car with teams changing their strategies and trying to adapt.
One of those safety cars was saw the end of ex-Supercars champion Garth Tander with his No.22 Audi falling way out of contention while Erebus Mercedes also struck trouble to end David Reynolds' hopes of a repeat of his 2017 Bathurst 1000 win.
From that point, it looked like Porsche were in sight of their first victory at the Bathurst 12 Hour with their two 911s steamed to the front of the pack with only three hours remaining.