Dane calls for consistency after ‘strange’ penalty
Triple Eight boss Roland Dane has called for consistency from the stewards after Shane van Gisbergen was docked two grid spots ahead of the Wilson Security Sandown 500 due to an incident in practice.
The reigning Supercars champion made contact with the rear of Fabian Coulthard, which resulted in a spin for the Shell V-Power Racing Ford Falcon in Saturday’s final practice session.
Van Gisbergen claimed Coulthard had brake tested him as the Ford driver appeared to slow significantly for the corner.
Following an investigation stewards imposed a two grid spot penalty for the race, which Dane believes has set a new precedent.
The Triple Eight chief recalls a similar incident where the two drivers made contact on several occasions during practice at Symmons Plains, which went unpenalised.
Stewards issued a similar two spot penalty to Nissan Motorsport’s Simona de Silvestro for impeding Jamie Whincup in qualifying on Saturday.
“It was strange penalty and it seems to set a new precedent,” Dane told Speedcafe.com.
“Coulthard and Shane had a coming together at Tasmania. Coulthard didn’t turn him around but almost did and it went unpenalised.
“There is no question that Coulthard was not going as fast as Shane had a right to expect at that point.
“Contact is unfortunate in practice and yet Simona (de Silvestro) cost Jamie (Whincup) at least the front row or pole and gets two grid spot penalty.
“Honestly we have got to stop being inconsistent.
“It is one of these things and nobody wants it to happen, but these things do happen.
“To suddenly make it into a grid penalty is very strange situation and what worries me is seeing inconsistencies coming into the penalty system.”
The clash between the two drivers has appeared to stoke up the rivalry between Triple Eight and Shell V-Power Racing.
Shell V-Power Racing managing director Ryan Story took umbrage to the ‘brake test’ comments made by van Gisbergen and the mind games at play.
“I wasn’t upset, I was just genuinely surprised by some of the comments we are seeing from time to time,” Story told Speedcafe.com.
“I think there is certainly that (mind games element) to it. Sometimes you can cross the line and occasionally I just wonder if it is in good taste.”
However, Story says his team will fight Triple Eight hard until the end as it bids to claim a maiden championship for the Australian/American alliance.
“At the end of the day there are 46 drivers that have turned up to the precinct hoping to beat one of the Triple Eight cars, as they are the gold standard,” Story added.
“It is clear that when there is a competitive pressure around the place they respond accordingly.
“When we have fast race cars and we put a foot wrong they are there to pick up the pieces and take the race win.
“We are enjoying the fight and we are going to fight like you wouldn’t believe right until the end of this championship.
“Win, lose or draw the achievement for the year is we have staked our claim in the ground that we are here to be competitive and win races, and take it to the best of them.”
DJR Team Penske currently lead the drivers’ standings through Scott McLaughlin, while the Red Bull Holden Racing Team trails the Ford operation by 372 points in the teams’ championship.