Triple Eight critical of ‘light’ McLaughlin penalty

Tom Howard

Saturday 19th August, 2017 - 7:26pm

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Scott McLaughlin turned Shane van Gisbergen around in Race 17

Triple Eight team manager Mark Dutton is concerned by the precedent stewards have set following a ‘light’ penalty issued to Scott McLaughlin after a high profile clash with Shane van Gisbergen.

Steward issued McLaughlin a 15 second time penalty after the DJR Team Penske driver tagged the rear of van Gisbergen at Turn 2 having lost the lead after a controversial restart late in Race 17.

Dutton claims McLaughlin ‘intentionally’ spun van Gisbergen as retaliation following side-to-side contact on the start/finish straight as the race restarted.

Van Gisbergen overlapped the Penske Ford on the straight with the restart now being investigated by stewards.

While van Gisbergen went from the lead to having to fight his way from the rear of the pack to 15th, the sanction dropped McLaughlin to 10th at the chequered flag.

Dutton believes the decision of the stewards failed to reflect the crime with the former feeling a drive-through penalty was more appropriate.

He also has concerns regarding the precedent this ruling sets for the remainder of the championship.

“What’s it saying to the rest of the drivers that you can take out someone that passes you and get 15 seconds?” Dutton told Speedcafe.com.

“That’s their job to interpret that, but I think it’s a light penalty. I don’t understand why it’s not a drive-through.

“Not only did it have the effect of wrecking Shane’s race but it had the effect of damaging (David) Reynolds’ race and Jamie (Whincup)’s race.

“Jamie was clearly in the box seat. He had the freshest tyres, had been going fast and was there at the restart. It’s a pretty disappointing move.”

Dutton also hit out at McLaughlin for his role in the clash which the latter apologised for post-race.

“You can see McLaughlin has unloaded him and that was bad enough but to come in on the second hit which was quite big shows that he intentionally spun the car,” Dutton added.

“It is not careless driving, not slip of this or he broke too deep, it is nothing like that.

“You can only assume the frustration or red mist type of thing. Why else would you do it?

“Why else would you do it? You’d think he’s not that much of a bad sport, but make up your own mind.

“People will argue that Shane was rubbing down the front straight so the retaliation was ok, but retaliation is not ok and that’s clear in every other sport.

“And for what? A bit of side-to-side rubbing is never going to cost you a position. It was a poor decision. He didn’t go when he should have.

“It was a great move by Shane, he out-foxed and out-thought him and then out-drove him and then he got spun.”

McLaughlin has admitted that the earlier contact with van Gisbergen had affected his judgement when the pair collided at Turn 2.

“I’ve got to look at the rules and stuff because I felt like Shane pulled out a bit early,” said McLaughlin.

“What happened on the front-straight was history, that peeved me off a little bit and then I just made a bad judgement into Turn 2.

“I copped the penalty, my fault. At the end of the day you do the crime, you do the time.”