Dimitri Agathos and Lachlan Gibbons have driven their FullGas Racing Subaru WRX STI to an 18th-place finish in the 2018 Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour after continuing to battle with the overheating problems that plagued the team throughout practice and qualifying.
Despite the Nova Employment/Castrol/Whiteline/All Drive Subaroo/Hog’s Breath Café North Parramatta car being faced with a top speed deficit of more than 40 km/h on the other Class A1 cars as a result of the soaring engine temperatures, slick pit strategy kept Agathos and Gibbons on the lead lap for much of the race, the car running as high as eighth outright at one stage.
“We knew we didn’t have the outright pace to challenge the leaders, but we did our best to make up for it with our strategy,” Agathos said.
“Whenever there was a Safety Car, we pitted at a time that ensured we didn’t lose any laps to the race leader, and that played to our advantage.”
Ultimately, a low oil pressure warning during Gibbons’ stint forced an unscheduled pit stop under green flag conditions, putting the car out of contention for a top 10 result.
“When the low oil pressure warning came up, I knew it was best to come into the pits rather than risking engine damage – with the temperatures as high as they were, we were already putting the engine under a lot of stress.
“Fortunately we were able to continue but it cost us a couple of laps.”
While the result didn’t match the 15th-place finish scored by the team in last year’s race, Agathos said there were still positives to come out of the event.
“Considering the hot conditions and temperature management challenges we faced all weekend, it was an achievement just to make it to the finish,” Agathos said.
“While it would have been nice to improve on our result from 2017, the standard of competition was significantly higher this year.”
The FullGas Racing Subaru will be back in action for the 2018 Australian Production Car Series, starting with the opening round at Sandown on 11-13 May.