Photo: Mark Horsburgh

Team BRM Audi driver Nick Percat put together a long green flag stint to lead the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour after three hours of racing in challenging weather conditions.

After a foggy 5:15 a.m. start, heavy rain started to fall over Mount Panorama Circuit just before the 90-minute mark, prompting the field to adopt wet weather Pirelli tires.

The tire changes occurred under a third safety car period of the day that was caused by the Grove Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R running wide and into the gravel at Hell Corner.

Most teams including some of the Pro-Am favorites initially adopted slicks before coming back in for treaded rubber, but four entries including the No. 17 BRM Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II took wets at the first opportunity, giving them a net advantage.

BRM started from 17th on the grid after missing qualifying due to accident repairs but managed to work its way to the front during a hectic opening stanza.

Percat took the restart after an hour and 49 minutes, but the safety car was back out only three minutes later when the M Motorsport KTM X-Bow GT2 stopped with an issue.

The next restart went Percat’s way again as he led from Tony d’Alberto in the Wall Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo. Behind them, Ricardo Feller charged past several cars in his No. 777 Audi and soon caught up with Percat after finding a way past d’Alberto.

Feller made a smart move on Percat into the Chase after two and a half hours but relinquished his front-running position by making a compulsory pit stop after just 11 laps.

The No. 777 Audi had earlier served a drive-through penalty after Yasser Shahin overtook another car during the second opening-hour safety car.

Percat, meanwhile, completed more than 30 laps in the BRM Audi that he is sharing with Joey Mawson and Mark Rosser, to sit out front at the three-hour mark.

Lee Holdsworth was second at the top of the fourth hour courtesy of a similarly long green flag stint aboard the No. 9 Hallmarc Audi, with Audi factory drivers Feller and Nathanael Berthon running third and fourth after pitting under green.

SunEnergy1 Racing lost ground due to a pair of drive-throughs for Kenny Habul overtaking under two separate safety cars, while fellow Mercedes-AMG team Craft-Bamboo Racing made nine visits to pit road with its car that is running for the first time since undergoing an engine change on Saturday.

Triple Eight Race Engineering’s No. 888 car was the top Mercedes-AMG runner after three hours, with Shane van Gisbergen gaining positions during his first stint.

Two of the Mercedes-AMGs to hit trouble have been the Griffith Corporation car that retired after Jack Perkins spun into the Chase barriers under safety car conditions, and the Sheargold Motorsport machine that incurred front-end damage when Michael Sheargold spun approaching the Elbow.

Valmont Racing’s AMG has also spent time in its garage due to a radiator leak.

After Chaz Mostert led the opening stint, the No. 65 Coinspot Audi lost ground in the second hour as Am driver Liam Talbot battled the difficult conditions, but the MPC-run machine remained in the top-five mix despite slipping down a few places.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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