Triple Eight fuel rig mod outlawed amid pitlane crackdown

The Triple Eight fuel rigs in Townsville

The Triple Eight fuel rigs in Townsville, complete with additional beam and strap

V8 Supercars has outlawed a recent modification to TeamVodafone’s fuel rigs as it cracks down on a number of pitlane regulations ahead of this weekend’s Coates Hire Ipswich 300.

The category has reiterated to its teams that the control rigs are not to be modified after TeamVodafone competed at both Hidden Valley and Townsville with metal beams protruding from the top of its fuel towers that supported the fuel hoses via fabric straps.

Rival teams queried the legality of the system with V8 Supercars after the Townsville event, claiming that the modification had been saving the Holden squad crucial tenths of a second during its stops.

TeamVodafone team manager Adrian Burgess, however, denies that the set-up had been providing any performance advantage.

“It doesn’t make it any quicker or any slower, we were doing it from an OH&S (Occupational Health and Safety) point of view,” Burgess told of the modification.

“Having the beam out there with a strap on it was purely to take some of the hose weight off of the refueller.

“We spoke to V8 Supercars and initially they were happy with it, but now we’ve been told we can’t use it. We’re fine with that though, we know we won’t be any slower with the way we’re configured compared to what we’ve had for the last two races.”

Elsewhere in pitlane, drivers will today get their first taste of a new pit entry speed measuring system designed to stamp out the practice of drivers gaining time while hidden from the view of V8 Supercars’ radars behind other cars.

A loop has been installed in the Ipswich circuit to record the time taken for each car to transverse the five metres between the two lines, allowing speed to be calculated regardless of radar and vehicle positioning.

Burgess says that TeamVodafone has been one of the key supporters behind the implementation of the more comprehensive detection method.

“We’re a really big supporter of that system, we pushed pretty hard to have the money spent on it because it (the practice of gaining time while ‘hidden’ by other cars) was spoiling the races,” said Burgess.

“Some drivers are known for taking more liberties than others at the pit entry and when one starts doing it the others have to otherwise they’re on the back foot. Now that it’s clarified we’ll all be on a level playing field.”

The teams will also be dealing with a stricter policy regarding wheel-spin during pitstops this weekend following an incident involving TeamVodafone driver Jamie Whincup in Townsville.

While television cameras captured vision of Whincup’s rear wheels spinning while the car was returning to the ground after its stop, the three-time champion escaped penalty on the grounds that the rules – in place since May’s Phillip Island event – only prohibited wheel-spin “immediately prior to the car being lowered from its air jacks”. The regulations, originally introduced to protect the fingers of pit crew members, now state that wheel-spin is not permitted “from the time the car leaves the ground until it returns to the ground”.

The V8 Supercars will take to the Queensland Raceway circuit for four practice sessions today ahead of the weekend’s racing action.

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