Mark Winterbottom was left to rue a mistimed pit release which has seen the Prodrive star’s V8 Supercars Championship lead take a major hit.
Winterbottom had just taken over driving duties from Steve Owen when he was given the okay to blast away from his pit stall only to make heavy contact with Garth Tander’s Holden.
The damage to Winterbottom’s right-front steering and suspension saw him return to the pits for lengthy repairs.
Stewards also awarded Winterbottom with a drive-through penalty which saw him ultimately complete just 88 of the 102 laps in 24th position.
The result marked Winterbottom’s worst of the season and the first time he had finished off the lead lap.
Visibly annoyed upon exiting the car post-race, Winterbottom later expressed sympathy for the role of the car controller.
“It’s a bad position to be in with the car controller,” Winterbottom told Speedcafe.com.
“It’s a job that no-one would put their hand up to do.
“I had no right-hand mirror and you are just running blind.
“Obviously you get angry and disappointed but it’s done now.”
The pit bungle has lopped 93 points off Winterbottom’s lead to Craig Lowndes who finished third, leaving him with a 306 point advantage going tomorrow’s second 300km leg.
Prodrive team principal Tim Edwards said the incident was like watching slow motion as it unfolded.
“We had a plan to drop it and get the car out in front of whoever was coming,” Edwards told Speedcafe.com.
“It was almost like watching in slow motion. It all takes time to drop, land and move and it was all miss-timed.
“We were probably not even one second off. The plan was to drop and get him out to be the lead car.
“The combination of the cars in the pitlane and Reynolds exiting his box, we were probably half a second askew.
“As it was he had to bulk because Reynolds was there and Todd slotted in and you know what happened after that.”