Calls for Safety Car review after race leader mix up

Shane van Gisbergen and Mark Winterbottom benefited from safety car confusion

Shane van Gisbergen and Scott McLaughlin have called on Supercars to review its procedure for picking up the leader behind the safety car after a mix up in Race 23 at ITM Auckland Super Sprint.

Jamie Whincup’s Red Bull Holden Racing Team entry was mistaken for that of race-leader van Gisbergen as the Safety Car was deployed when James Courtney found the wall at Turn 4 on lap 32

The stoppage sparked a flurry of pit activity resulting in the safety car initially picking up Whincup’s Red Bull Holden as the race leader, despite the fact he was running outside the top ten at the time.

Though quickly waved through, the delay proved crucial as both he and McLaughlin, who’d stopped at the end of lap 31, lost out to van Gisbergen and Mark Winterbottom after the pit stop shake up.

“I think the other guys must have got held up or something,” van Gisbergen reasoned after the race.

“I think the procedures need to be a bit better. At Bathurst I got picked up because Jamie was the leader and the cars look the same, so they just picked up the wrong guy, so maybe they did that.”

“Out of the pit lane I felt like me and Jamie obviously we would have been a bit closer than we were,” added McLaughlin, who recovered to third after passing Whincup shortly after the race restarted.

“There was an orange light, then there was a green light about 20 seconds later or whatever, I might be exaggerating.

“It was pretty full on, so they probably need to work on that and sort out their little structure.”

McLaughlin’s sentiments are echoed by his DJR Team Penske team boss Ryan Story.

“We’ve both been the beneficiary and the victim of some inconsistency with the Safety Car this year,” Story agreed.

“It’s vital that we don’t leave the responsibility to any one individual, as well as it being unfair to do so.

“There needs to be structure and process to ensure consistency, so that we don’t see these situations influencing race results.”

The mix up ultimately had a lasting impact on the race result as van Gisbergen and Winterbottom emerged at the head of the race, despite having trailed Whincup and McLaughlin prior to the safety car’s deployment.

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