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After a punishing 257 laps around the Mt Panorama track, the Chris Atkinson, Cody Crocker and Dean Herridge Impreza WRX STI, car number 98, has finished second outright in the WPS Bathurst 12-Hour Showroom Enduro.

After an epic battle across the day, the Garry Holt BMW 335i, car 20, driven by Holt, Craig Baird and Paul Morris, was victorious by one minute ten seconds.

The Subaru took Class B honours for All-Wheel Drive Performance Cars.

In third place outright was the Robert Hughes Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8, driven by Hughes, Rick Bates and Peter Gazzard, more than three laps behind. The Barry Morcom-entered BMW was fourth and the second Subaru Impreza, car 7, driven by Chris Alajajian, Neil Crompton and Grant Denyer, was fifth outright, third in class.

The two Subarus were in the contest until near the end of the tenth hour when car 7 had a rear-wheel bearing problem and spent an extended time in the pits, losing around four laps.

The lead swapped throughout the day between car 98 and car 20, as safety stops came at crucial stages for both cars, meaning leads hard-earned were forfeited.

In the end the top speed of the BMW proved decisive, but the Subaru team, made up of three rally drivers, was delighted with its circuit racing debut.

“The car performed incredibly well on its first outing,” said World Rally Championship driver, Chris Atkinson.

“It was a big change from what we normally do but it was a real highlight. We all learnt a lot and I’m sure we’d all jump at the opportunity to do this again.”

The three drivers looked after the car superbly. Their knowledge of the Impreza gleaned from so many years rallying, was a huge advantage.

“We just kept the car neat and tidy the whole time, looking after the tyres and brakes, and we just don’t have the outright speed to match the other guys,” Crocker said.

“We would have liked a bit of rain, that would have favoured us, but sadly for us it stayed dry all twelve hours in Bathurst.”

Herridge also enjoyed his time on the legendary track, setting the fastest lap time for his car, in lap 88, a time of two minutes 35.33 seconds.

“That is a big day,” said Herridge. “The day started with the unknown but we worked our way into the event and finished up feeling very comfortable out there.”

“We always knew that the BMW would be hard to beat but I think we gave a very good account of ourselves.”

Subaru Motorsport boss, Derek Ashby, was full of praise for the three.

“Here were three guys who had never raced around this track before, up against guys who have vast experience on the mountain,” Ashby said.

“They showed their class.”

“We were delighted. The second car did a great job too, but things just didn’t go there way all day. It seemed every time there was a safety stop, they’d just come out of a pit stop, but they were right at the pointy end for most of the 12 hours.”

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