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Team-mate status irrelevant in penalty decisions

Sunday 30th March, 2014 - 4:00am

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Team-mate collisions will be treated the same as any others this season

Team-mate collisions will be treated the same as any other this season

New-for-2014 V8 Supercars Investigating Officer Jason Bargwanna has made it clear that Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes’ status as team-mates played no role in the “racing incident” verdict handed down following their Saturday clash.

A precedent for excusing friendly fire was set in 2010, when a James Courtney punt on then Dick Johnson Racing team-mate Steven Johnson in Townsville went unpunished.

Stewards determined at the time that an intra-team collision already punishes the squad in question, ensuring no further reprimand is required.

Lowndes led the first 25 laps of Saturday’s Race 4 at Symmons Plains before an attempted overtake from Whincup saw the #888 Holden bumped off the road, losing 10 places as a result.

A post-race investigation concluded that it was a racing incident and neither would be punished.

“For me, whether the two cars involved in an incident have the same stickers on the doors is irrelevant,” Bargwanna told Speedcafe.com.

“From my position it’s all about driving standards and every incident is given the same due process.

“We did a thorough investigation into it, including looking at in-car cameras, and found there to be no breach of the regulations.

“It was a racing incident. There was a bit of fault on both parts and that’s where it was left.”

Bargwanna added that he made his across-the-board clean-slate policy known upon taking up the role.

“I made it pretty clear when I came into this position that whatever has happened in the past is irrelevant and where we start from this year is how we’re going to deal with things,” he said.

“I made that very clear to teams and drivers.”

Taking over the IO role from Cameron McConville this season has meant a return to the V8 Supercar paddock for Bargwanna.

Never having been afraid to ruffle feathers during his time behind the wheel, the former Bathurst 1000 winner says he’s enjoying the challenge of the position.

“I love it,” he said.

“It’s really strange and it’s different, because I’ve been away for two years and I’m back in pitlane again.

“Every decision there’s going to be someone unhappy, but so far it seems to be going ok.

“I don’t know what all the feedback is down pitlane but all of that really doesn’t bother me to be honest.”

The V8 Supercars will be on track at Symmons Plains today for a qualifying at 1120 and Race 6 of the championship at 1555.

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