A tyre mix-up was ultimately the reason for Richie Stanaway’s impromptu drifting late in Race 17 of the Supercars Championship in Townsville, Tickford Racing has explained.
Stanaway was seen on television throwing the #56 Rabble.Club FGX Falcon into major slides through Turns 11 and 13.
The New Zealander had been one of three drivers whose crews opted to roll the dice on a third tyre change during the Safety Car period which was called on Lap 55.
It was during that pit stop that the team erred with regard to which tyres it fitted to the Ford, leaving Stanaway with a tough task for the remainder of the 70-lap race.
“We were going all right for most of the race,” recalled the 26-year-old.
“We had a good first stint and the car was reasonable, so we were on for a fairly smooth day.
“With the late Safety Car, the plan was always to take tyres, so I came in for tyres, but unfortunately there was a misunderstanding for what tyres went on the car, so we put fresh fronts on but not the rears.
“I was expecting understeer when I came out, which would have been good for the end of the race so we could gamble on charging through those last 15 laps.
“Obviously because we had the wrong tyres on, the car was pretty undriveable.
“I was having enough trouble keeping the car out of the wall, let alone try to pass anyone; I couldn’t even get to full throttle down the straight between Turns 2 and 3.
“It’s a disappointing end but we’ll get it sorted and do better tomorrow.”
Team Principal Tim Edwards confirmed that an error occurred in preparing for the pit stop and that Stanaway’s slides were intentional.
“Richie’s situation was due to human error, which we train hard to avoid but unfortunately it came into play today,” he explained.
“He was understandably frustrated, and his on-track theatrics became a way of blowing off steam in a frustrating situation.
“We’ve handled it internally, and we’ll turn it around and go for a strong Sunday all around tomorrow.”
The former sportscar ace’s was not the only pit stop drama for Tickford during the afternoon.
Chaz Mostert was forced to queue behind Mark Winterbottom during their respective second pit stops at the end of Lap 42.
Winterbottom had in fact decided of his own accord to peel off into the lane when he feared that a tyre had failed on the #5 The Bottle-O FGX Falcon.
“Unfortunately, he (Mostert) got caught up with Frosty having a tyre drama and we were already set up to pit Chaz,” Edwards told Speedcafe.com of the Supercheap Auto Racing driver’s delay.
“(Winterbottom) nearly had a tyre failure. All of a sudden in the last three corners he had some big moments so he did what any good driver would do and get to the pit lane before the catastrophic happens.”
Winterbottom was ultimately the highest finisher of the Tickford quartet in sixth.
Cameron Waters ended the race in eighth, Mostert 13th, and Stanaway 23rd.