Cameron Waters has defended the decision to employ a conventional start for the Repco Bathurst 1000 after chaos broke out on Mountain Straight on Lap 1.
While the Mount Panorama circuit was mostly dry ahead of lights out, the exit of Hell Corner was covered in mud and dirt, and there was standing water up Mountain Straight on drivers' right.
The preceding race of the day, a Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia encounter, was red-flagged less than four laps in, although the stated reason, unusually, was to prevent it from being classified as a points-paying race given the extent of Safety Car running and time-certainty.
Also unusual was the advice which Supercars Race Director James Taylor issued to teams over the Race Management Channel just before the start of Supercars' 161-lap showpiece, warning them of the water on the track.
It would prove prophetic when multiple cars broke traction on the drag towards Griffins Bend just seconds into the race, with both Jamie Whincup and Jack Perkins spinning, and Zak Best incurring race-ending damage in the mess.
Race 23 of the Repco Supercars Championship began under Safety Car when rain fell at The Bend, and a number of support category races during the Bathurst 1000 event started in the same fashion, including the aforementioned Carrera Cup session, although it should be noted that standing water and rivers around Mount Panorama were far more prevalent in those.
The podium-finishing drivers were asked by Speedcafe.com to comment on whether or not the race should have started under Safety Car, but Waters declared that Race Control made the right call.
“We can't go all soft like Formula 1, so I think we did the right thing,” said the Tickford Racing driver, who had endorsed the decision to cancel the Top 10 Shootout on the afternoon prior.
James Moffat had started the race in the #6 Monster Energy Mustang, and Waters said he had confidence in his co-driver's ability to handle one of the most challenging first stints in race history, during which a brief, patchy shower left drivers tip-toeing on slicks.
“I was quite happy watching the other guys drive around in it,” he remarked after he and Moffat stood on the bottom step of the podium.
“They were having moments and stuff.
“I had my faith in ‘Moff' to do a good job and he did a good job in those conditions, so I was happy watching.”
“It was alright; we had some fun out there,” said the Walkinshaw Andretti United co-driver, who shared a runner-up finish with Mostert in the end.
“It was pretty dicey in a couple of spots, being on slicks – The Chase was soaked, Turn 2 [Griffins Bend] was pretty wild – but the rest of the track wasn't too bad, so we just had to manage those two areas.
“I guess, you just know your role, you know your job, you've got to get back in one piece and go as fast as you can in those conditions.”
This year's Bathurst 1000 was the first in history in which the Top 10 Shootout was cancelled, due to the risk caused by the masses of standing water and rivers around the circuit, with Mountain Straight a particular trouble spot then as well.
Makeshift drainage work took place overnight prior to race day action kicking off, although it proved not enough to allow the water to clear.
The Safety Car on Lap 1 would be the first of six in 57 laps, not all of which could reasonably be attributed to the conditions, and there were only two more triggered in the subsequent 104 laps as the circuit dried out, with drivers even using more conventional lines through Hell Corner by the conclusion late on Sunday afternoon.