Scott McLaughlin (right) and Alex Premat are officially Bathurst 1000 winners.
Scott McLaughlin (right) and Alex Premat are officially Bathurst 1000 winners.

McLaughlin rivals trash Bathurst debacle

The Red Bull Racing team have trashed the decision handed down after the Bathurst 1000 slow down face which had sullied the 2019 edition of the race.

Bathurst winners Scott McLaughlin and Alex Premat have hung on to their result but Fabian Coulthard was dropped to last on the grid.

DJR Team Penske was also hit with a $150,000 fine with another $100,000 suspended until the end of 2021 and lost 300 points in the team series, reducing its lead over the Red Bull Holden Racing Team to 423 points.

The record-breaking sum will go into the Supercars' Fines Fund, which goes towards safety and judicial technology such as Hawk-Eye and the new in-car warning system.

But the entire affair has left a bad taste in the mouth of some of the rest of the championship.

Last week, Erebus Motorsport CEO Barry Ryan demanded the team be disqualified.

He told the Below the Bonnet podcast: "Essentially that team blatantly cheated, I guess, and fixed the race, from that point."

Erebus driver David Reynolds reacted to the news with a pointed clip to an episode of South Park, which essentially said "it does not make sense".

 

 

Now the punishments have been handed down, drivers from the Red Bull Racing team have lashed the decision, with two-time Bathurst champion Garth Tander leading the way.

Tander, who partnered Shane van Gisbergen to second in the great race, told Channel 10's RPM program that DJR barely got a slap on the wrist for the dragging the sport into controversy.

"I feel like still the team has been given a pretty light penalty," Tander said.

"It's a lot of money to everyone sitting at home, $150,000 to pay off the mortgage but in reality - and I'm not privy to the Shell V-Power commercial arrangements but I've seen other commercial arrangements in other teams that I have been part of - that bonuses for winning Bathurst are much larger than $150,000, from one sponsor.

"So I'm not saying it's a small fine - it's a large fine - but the commercial reality of that fine? It's not that big."

The Triple 8 team were not happy with the punishment.
The Triple 8 team were not happy with the punishment.

Veteran driver Michael Caruso - who partnered Cameron Waters for Tickford Racing - agreed that it wasn't a big fine in Supercars.

It was well short of the maximum $400,000 fine the stewards could have levied at the team.

"It is a team sport and your team can win you the race and they can lose you the race sometimes just as much as you can as a driver, so I think that's where I'm a bit concerned how light it is," Caruso said.

But Tander said he didn't believe the DJR drivers should have lost their positions, lashing the way the Penske team looked after their drivers.

"I don't think that that team, Shell V-Power Racing, has supported its two primary drivers strong enough this week," Tander said.

"One, they've put an asterisk next to Scott's victory with what's happened with the tactics that played out through the race and two, they've clearly thrown Fabs under the bus."

Speaking ahead of next weekend's Gold Coast 600, Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes also took aim at the punishment.

Whincup was the only other car other than McLaughlin to stay ahead of Coulthard but an ultimately costly mistake to pit meant Whincup dropped back to fourth.

The result left a bitter taste in seven-time Bathurst winner Lowndes mouth as the act and the aftermath have dragged the sport through the mud.

"I think that people will remember Bathurst for what it was now, not for the win - I think that's the down side of it," Lowndes said of DJR Team Penske's actions.

"Bathurst is all about the Peter Brock Trophy and having a hard and fast race to the finish.

"Scotty, yes he had one of the fastest cars there that weekend, and he stands on the top step, but as I said in the spirit of the race, it wasn't what I wanted to see."

Everyone was stuck behind Coulthard.
Everyone was stuck behind Coulthard.

Not usually one to criticise rivals, Lowndes didn't hold back when asked about DJR Team Penske's tactics.

"That the fine has been the biggest that the category has ever put on any race team, so I think that sort of speaks volumes about obviously what went on," he said.

"For me, personally, I don't think it was in the spirit of the rules, the spirit of the way the race was.

"Everyone wanted to see a hard and fast race towards the end and we didn't get to see that."

Lowndes' teammate Jamie Whincup - a record seven-time series champion - was also clearly unimpressed by DJR Team Penske.

"We've seen some massive penalties in Formula 1, we've seen some harsh, big penalties in Supercars," Whincup explained.

"By far what was handed out on the weekend was by far the biggest penalty we've seen, but it was a fairly major error at the same time as well.

"We need to protect the racing and the competition to make sure that whoever pays $100 to get in on the weekend actually sees a fair dinkum battle between everyone, so we need to make sure the teams are influencing that."

- with AAP

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News Corp Australia


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