Davison, Webb Bathurst win remains in limbo
Will Davison and Jonathon Webb’s victory in Sunday’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 remains in limbo despite an interim ruling from the Supercars National Court of Appeal today.
Triple Eight’s initial Notice of Intention to Appeal filed on Sunday night at Bathurst was related only to the severity of the penalty handed down against the #88 Red Bull Holden.
The Jamie Whincup/Paul Dumbrell entry was dealt a 15 second post-race penalty for contact with Scott McLaughlin on lap 150 of 161, dropping the duo from first to 11th in the result.
Triple Eight had attempted to strengthen its position and alter their appeal to include, “that there was an error in the application and interpretation of the rules by the stewards” and “that natural justice was denied by the stewards”.
The application for the alteration was rejected by Supercars National Court of Appeal earlier today with an accompanying CAMS statement saying that reason for the rejection would be released at a later date.
According to a Supercars statement, attributed to its chief executive James Warburton, ‘the appeal could only seek to downgrade the penalty from a grade two to a grade one which carries a 10 second penalty and could not have the incident re-investigated or the charge dropped’.
Grade one and two charges carry 15 and 10-second time penalties respectively, but can also be handled with a simple ‘redress’ of positions.
An interpretation of the rules and an outline of the penalties are delivered by Supercars’ Driving Standards Observer, Jason Bargwanna by the way of a powerpoint presentation to the competitors throughout the season, including Bathurst.
The only time this season that the penalty for a grade one infringement was 10 seconds, instead of a redress, also came in last Sunday’s race when Rick Kelly hit Chris Pither at Hell Corner, sending him up the escape road.
Kelly was having radio issues and could not be told to redress and was subsequently hit with a 10-second time penalty.
If Triple Eight are successful in having the penalty downgraded to level one they will then argue that Whincup had ‘redressed’ his position with McLaughlin before the subsequent three-car incident which cost McLaughlin two laps and eliminated the HRT entry of Garth Tander and Warren Luff.
Therefore Whincup’s penalty would have been served and he and Dumbrell should be deemed the race winners.
If Triple Eight’s appeal is unsuccessful they have an avenue to take their argument all the way to the FIA in Paris.
Warburton’s statement was firm in its ‘opinion’ of the current situation.
“Supercars Australia respects the right of all teams to appeal the decisions of stewards, however it also recognises the groundswell of opinion from teams, drivers and fans who have expressed a strong desire to see one of Australia’s biggest sporting events decided on the racetrack and not in a courtroom,” he said.
CAMS has meanwhile confirmed the three-member panel that has been appointed for the appeal hearing.
“As per the Supercars Operations Manual, CAMS has appointed a Supercars National Court of Appeal that will include three members drawn from a Judicial Panel of independent persons,” read a CAMS statement.
“The Judicial Panel will comprise of Walter Sofronoff QC (Chairman), Barry Pilgrim (Deputy Chairman) and Christopher Blanden QC.
“Sofronoff QC, serving as Chairman of the Court, is the former Solicitor-General of Queensland and is now currently a Member of the University of Queensland Law School’s Advisory Board and a Fellow of The Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators Australia.
“Deputy Chairman Pilgrim is a retired lawyer and has run a successful private practice in Sydney. Pilgrim also has past motor sport experience as a competitor at club level.
“Experienced mediator Blanden QC has served as a member of the Supercars National Court of Appeal since 2007, and was a Chairman on the Panels of Inquiry for CAMS in 2007.”
*This story replaces a previous edition which indicated that the Will Davison and Jonathon Webb’s Bathurst victory was no longer in doubt. The original story was compiled on misleading official information.