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Sensational Top 20 Finish In Bathurst 12 Hour for Abarth 500

Sensational Top 20 Finish In Bathurst 12 Hour for Abarth 500

• Abarth Motorsport posts top 20 finish on debut
• #96 entrant finishes 18th and #95 finishes 22nd after more than 230 gruelling laps
• Best team lap time a 2:31.4393 set by Paul Stokell
• All cars display impeccable reliability despite sweltering conditions
• Only one tyre and brake pad change for two top 25 finishing cars
• Fuel consumption averages just 1.5-litres per lap – the best in the field

The Australian-based Abarth Motorsport team sent waves through the motorsport world yesterday with all its cars finishing the Bathurst 12 Hour and two in the top 25 overall.

The Abarth 695 Assetto Corse machines, the smallest and least powerful cars in the race, put in a giant killing performance amongst a bumper field of competitors including some of the world’s fastest GT-class cars and drivers.

Eleven Abarth Motorsport drivers completed stints in the 12 hour race, including senior Australian motoring writers Paul Gover, Michael Sinclair, Toby Hagon and Joshua Dowling.

V8 Supercar driver Luke Youlden and former Nations Cup champion Paul Stokell completed the race’s first and final stints in the #96 and #95 entrants.

The third Abarth Motorsport entrant, piloted by young guns Matthew Campbell, Matthew Cherry and Luke Ellery, completed the required distance to give Abarth Motorsport a 100 per cent finishing record for the day.

The Abarth 695 Assetto Corse machines displayed impeccable reliability even as temperatures reached 36 degrees Celsius and track temperatures hit 60 degrees Celsius.

The Abarths staggeringly only required just one change of tyres and brake pads for the race and the 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder Abarth engines required no additional oil - a clear endorsement of their reliability and efficiency.

Abarth Motorsport Team Manager Alan Heaphy said the result underlined the efforts of his experienced race team, mechanical integrity of the Abarths and performance of the drivers, many of whom had gone into the race with minimal race experience.

“This was a classic tale of the little guys showing the big guys a thing or two,” said Mr Heaphy, a former two-time Bathurst 12 Hour winning team boss. “We proved early in the weekend that we had the speed to qualify and today we showed we had the reliability and consistency to finish in the top 20 among a big, talented field, which is fantastic.”

Fiat Chrysler Group President and CEO Veronica Johns said such a high finish was a major breakthrough for the team.

“This is a historic day for Abarth Motorsport and everyone who made this result a reality,” Ms Johns said. “We are extremely proud of the drivers, four of whom are motoring journalists by day but have shown incredible commitment and professionalism through this whole process.

“We are also very grateful to Alan and his excellent team and of course the little Abarths, which proved they could go the distance with style!”

About Fiat Chrysler New Zealand
Launched on 1 May 2013, Fiat Chrysler New Zealand is the new national importer that has, for the first time, brought together Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge together under one importer to maximise the strengths of the brands and offer New Zealand consumers a better deal and a better ownership experience. The new company, which is based at Mt Wellington in Auckland, is a joint venture between New Zealand businessman, Neville Crichton, and Clyde Campbell.

ENDS

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