Kiwi stars feud after ‘unsportsmanlike’ gesture
Scott McLaughlin and Shane van Gisbergen ended their Barbagallo weekends “yelling and screaming” at one another following a heated on-track battle in Race 16.
A long first pitstop to fix a damaged door had seen McLaughlin thrust back into the pack for the second stint of the 200km race, where the Volvo star came across his countryman.
Fighting to pass the Tekno Holden, McLaughlin was enraged to see Van Gisbergen “flip me the bird” during their subsequent battle.
Van Gisbergen endured a horror weekend in the West, finishing 25th, 19th and 20th in the three races.
After taking the flag 17th, McLaughlin told Speedcafe.com that he felt his rival’s actions had been “unsportsmanlike”.
“He was a lot slower than all of us, we were catching him at a second a lap and he indicated Moff (James Moffat) through but when I came past him he made it real difficult for some reason,” said McLaughlin.
“We’ve got this ‘Kiwi code’ sort of thing where, if someone is on a worse set of tyres or something like that… we don’t exactly make it easy but we don’t make it difficult either.
“I don’t know what went on in his head today but it’s like I’ve done something (to annoy him).
“I don’t know what, but he was a real pain to get by and then when we were rolling up the main straight he flips the bird at me.
“I don’t particularly enjoy someone screwing my race and then getting angry and pulling the bird at me. I don’t rate unsportsmanlike stuff and I felt that was.”
McLaughlin, who stressed there had been no previous “beef” between he and Van Gisbergen, vented his frustration post-race.
“There was a lot of yelling and screaming going on, the majority of it from my side,” he said of the post-race confrontation.
“I let him know I wasn’t happy about it and that I felt it was disrespectful.
“I think he understood. We shook hands, but who knows what will happen next?
“I don’t hold grudges, but when someone flips the bird at me and stuffs my race, I’m not going to be happy.”
McLaughlin has repeatedly been the target of jibes from his rivals this season over the performance of the Volvo’s engine and aerodynamic packages.
Although the comments, some of which have come in public post-race press conferences, have struck directly at the 20-year-old’s achievements, McLaughlin says he’s not been bothered by such criticism.
“I don’t know if that came into it between me and Shane today but at the end of the day I don’t really care what anyone else thinks,” he said of rival’s perceptions of the Volvo’s strengths.
“I go about my business the way I do and if anyone has got beef with me I can’t do much about it.
“Life has people that hate you and people that love you. It’s just the way it is.”
Van Gisbergen left the circuit shortly after the race and was unable to be contacted by Speedcafe.com this evening.