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Strong Bathurst 12 Hour weekend for Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Racing comes undone in final couple hours



  • Hong Kong team forced to retire at the Mountain with 2 hours on the clock

  • Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Racing fought from P11 to podium positions

  • Heartbreak on attempt at the elusive Bathurst 12 Hour crown


 

Despite a valiant effort from Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Racing at the 2024 Repco Bathurst 12 Hour, the team fell short of what was looking like a very strong result at the Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC) season opener. The Hong Kong squad displayed precision and patience throughout a challenging weekend at Mount Panorama Circuit, on their seventh attempt to clinch the overall crown of the enduro classic down under. Despite starting in P11, the trio of Maximilian Goetz (GER), Daniel Juncadella (ESP) and Jayden Ojeda (AUS) showed incredible race pace in changing treacherous conditions and fought their way into the podium-paying positions by the final quarter of the race. However, Juncadella made a rare error being caught out by the wet and slippery track at the 10-hour mark, making contact with the wall at turn 6 and suffering suspension damage on the # 77 Mercedes-AMG GT3. Despite having to retire the car at the final hours of the race, the Hong Kong team leaves Australia demonstrating their unrelenting fighting spirit and determination and will look to secure a strong result in their next (IGTC) race.


In the dark at the early hours of Sunday morning, Goetz started the race for the Caltex with Techron®-sponsored Mercedes-AMG GT3 in P11, with the trio just having narrowly missed out on the top-10 shootout during qualifying on Saturday. However, the team was focused and confident in their consistent race pace, as well as effective pit-stop strategy. The first half of the round-the-clock enduro saw Goetz and Ojeda cut their way through the field quickly, assisted by good strategy, well-timed stops and swift work by the Craft-Bamboo Racing mechanics. After brilliant stints by both, which was particularly impressive given this was Ojeda’s first time in a GT3 car around Mount Panorama, Juncadella took the reigns of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 heading into the second half of the race. The final 6 hours proved to be a tricky one for all 29 cars on track, as the rapidly changing weather saw rain clouds form over Mount Panorama.

By the 8-hour mark, the # 77 Mercedes-AMG GT3 had played itself strongly in contention for the overall win, with Juncadella and Goetz demonstrating tremendous pace throughout three stints to put the Hong Kong team into the podium positions, even leading the race at one point. The team had worked faultlessly and tirelessly to that point, giving the drivers the best chance of going for the ultimate glory into the final stages of the race. At the 10-hour mark, the conditions still threatened and it was proving to be extremely difficult to find a fast line on the wet track. All the effort sadly came undone in a flash of a second when Juncadella took over the car to take it to the finish, he lost the rear of the car ever so slightly on his first flying lap, coming out of the corner at Reid Park. Despite it being a small error, the consequences at this unforgiving circuit were significant, with the car suffering rear suspension damage and the team being forced to retire from the event prematurely.


It was a bitter pill to swallow for all in the Hong Kong squad, as the team failed to complete the race despite a weekend of determination and true racing spirit. Although the result was not what the team expected, Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Racing was extremely proud of the drivers and teams near faultless weekend at one of the most challenging GT races in the world. The team is grateful for the support from its valuable partners, Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing, Caltex with Techron®, MSI, Hong Kong Asia Medical Group, Evisu, FreeM and Gravity Partnership, without whom none of this would be possible. Craft-Bamboo Racing will return in 2025 for yet another go at conquering the Mountain.


 

Darryl O’Young | Team Director

Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Racing

“I'm extremely proud of the effort by the drivers and crew at Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Racing for the Bathurst 12 Hour. It was a very strong race with no penalties or contact in extremely tough conditions, putting us up in the battle for the win until the 10-hour mark. Unfortunately, a whole weekend's work can come to an end with the slightest of errors. An unfortunate contact with the wall into the final 2 hours broke our suspension and ended the charge. Regardless, it was one of the best performances we have ever had and I'm really happy with the entire team's focus and execution through the entire event. We consistently perform strong in this race, I am confident the win will come soon! Thanks to all our sponsors and the Australian race fans for the great support, we will be back next year!”

Maximilian Goetz | Driver

# 77 Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Racing

“It’s definitely disappointing for the team as well as I think we had a plan and a strategy to move forward in the race from our starting position. We put all our effort into preparing a good race car by saving the tires during the practice sessions, which meant we were able to move up the grid. Unfortunately when the rain started coming down Dani touched the wall and damaged the suspension which meant we couldn't continue, but that’s racing. In the end it’s a shame because the podium was possible, but it is what it is, we come back stronger next year to try again. I really enjoyed every moment with the team, they did a great job overall and my teammates did a fantastic job as always.”

Daniel Juncadella | Driver

# 77 Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Racing

“It was great to be back at Bathurst, it’s such an amazing track and I really enjoyed being back with Craft-Bamboo Racing. I always enjoy racing with these guys. Unfortunately it was not one of the best weekends results wise, I think we had a really competitive car until the last two hours, but I made a small mistake, hit the wall and damaged the suspension. Furthermore we also had a drive through penalty, so it would’ve been difficult to challenge for the win, but overall I really enjoyed being back, unfortunately we couldn’t come away with a strong result.”

Jayden Ojeda | Driver

# 77 Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Racing

“Personally for me I really enjoyed the weekend, I felt like we had worked the weekend really well focusing on our plan without any distractions and when it was getting to the critical point of the race we found ourselves in contention for the win. The outcome of the race is disappointing but nonetheless still a great weekend spent with great people.”

 



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