A costly communication error saw Scott McLaughlin’s promising DJR Team Penske race debut end in disappointment at the Clipsal 500.
The 23-year-old had been among the contenders at the front of the field before he was hit by a pit lane penalty for weaving under the Safety Car in the early stages of the 78 lap race.
McLaughlin was occupying fifth at the time before he was issued a drive-through that dropped him to 17th at the chequered flag.
The Kiwi, who is still acclimatising to his new surroundings at DJRTP, was aware he had breached the rules, attributing the mistake to a lack of communication.
“Unfortunately that is a bit of communication protocol that I missed, and the team missed with me,” said McLaughlin.
“I knew straight away (that I breached the rules)
“I couldn’t see the Safety Car; it was in a dip. The lights had gone out, I was behind Shane van Gisbergen at the time, and I was weaving still, trying to get temperatures up.
“It’s one of those things; I’m used to getting told that the lights were out. It’s no fault on anyone, it’s just something we’ve got to work on.
“I fully understand the rule, and the penalty. I’m just disappointed.”
McLaughlin refused to criticise the severity of the penalty for his indiscretion.
“I don’t want to comment. That’s something for the powers that be,” he added.
“I wouldn’t blame the rule, it’s just unfortunate. It probably is a little bit harsh, but you shouldn’t be doing it. That’s the rule, we know it, and we’ve had it for a couple of years.”
The incident was one of two controversial penalties during the race after Erebus Motorsport’s David Reynolds was issued a drive-through for overuse of the kerbs.
Team manager Barry Ryan felt the penalty highlighted the inconsistencies of Supercars’ new judicial system.
“The judicial system has just had a big overview, and they don’t want to do drive-through penalties,” said Ryan.
“Now we have just copped a drive through penalty in the hardest race of the year, for overuse of kerbs.
“You saw a multiple champion turn someone around, and he has no penalty. It is just not fair in a race like this.
“A drive-through for overuse for kerbs is just not right.”