Erebus concerned by handling of spinning wheels incident

Tom Howard

Tuesday 6th November, 2018 - 5:39pm

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Erebus Motorsport boss Barry Ryan pic: Erebus Motorsport

Erebus Motorsport boss Barry Ryan is concerned by the interpretation of the rules stewards took in determining the outcome of the Shane van Gisbergen spinning wheels investigation. 

The controversial incident from Race 28 at the ITM Auckland SuperSprint was analysed post-race by deputy race director Michael Masi, who determined that the incident did not warrant referral to stewards given the rear wheels of race winner van Gisbergen’s car did not exceed a full rotation during the pit stop.

DJR Team Penske immediately protested the decision, arguing that the Supercars rules do not include that interpretation, and actually state;

“The wheels must stop rotating prior to the Car being lowered to the ground. For the sake of clarity, the wheels must not be rotating while the Car is being lowered to the ground.

“A slight movement of the rear wheels indicating the engagement of a gear will not, at the sole discretion of the S&TD, constitute the rear wheels rotating.”  

Stewards dismissed the appeal which has subsequently led to divided opinion up and down the paddock with Erebus siding with Shell V-Power Racing’s view that rules should be enforced as they are written.

Erebus was used as two of the precedents set by stewards where wheels on David Reynolds’ car were caught spinning at Adelaide and Bathurst and a penalty was not applied. 

“My view is the rule is crystal clear, it’s actually too clear, but the problem is they’ve (Supercars officials) let too much go in the past, and they’ve set a precedent,” Ryan told Speedcafe.com. 

“If you just go by the crystal clear rule, saying wheels can’t rotate before the car hits the ground, or however it’s written, it’s crystal clear, but you could never defend Shane’s wheels spinning.

“Interesting to see if you took it to a higher court or something, whether it would stand up; I don’t think it would.

“It shouldn’t have been confusing, there should have been a line drawn in the sand that there’s no exceptions any more because of the way the rule’s written, and if we go by a rule book, we don’t go by what someone thinks that rule should be determined as.

“That rule is one of the clearest rules in the rule book, so I don’t know where we go from here but if we’re going to start thinking of how we determine rules, or how it’s been done three years ago or two years ago, I don’t know where we go.”

Responding to the questions around the decision, Triple Eight team manager Mark Dutton understands the calls for clarity with the rulebook but says there has to be tolerances around regulations.   

“Some people will argue that ‘hang on if a full revolution is what’s classified as rotating the wheel, shouldn’t that be written in the rules’?” Dutton told Speedcafe.com. 

“You don’t get done for speeding for pit lane in a race if you do 40.1 km/h, even if the rule says 40. Therefore you should get done for 40.1 km/h. But there’s a tolerance. 

“There’s been lots and lots of examples this weekend about where tolerances are needed when teams get things a little bit wrong. 

“We have chosen not to throw stones this weekend with areas that other people have gotten a little bit wrong, because that’s not what we focus on.”

Dutton admits that he initially thought the team had breached the rule before further investigation and praised Masi for the thorough investigation instead of making a split second call, which could have drastically altered the championship fight.

“That one was fairly clear cut to me. I’m like everyone when you first see it it’s like ‘oh my god, he’s massively done a burnout in the middle of the air and it’s all turning bad’,” he added.

“But then when you actually look at it again, it’s just over a quarter of a turn. So it is really nothing. 

“And there has been some really good precedents and examples set at Bathurst for example of what have been deemed acceptable and what is deemed not. 

“I applaud the consistency of Masi and the stewards and everyone up there because that’s what we ask for. We ask for consistency. 

“Everything has tolerances. If you try to be a stickler and say there’s no tolerance then we all need to go and get high speed cameras because for the wheel to rotate, that’s open ended. 

“You could say well that means if it moves 1mm at the wrong time, it’s a rotation. 

“Does that give you any advantage? No. Is it unsafe? No. The pit stop’s done. 

“That was handled really well because it could easily have had the wrong decision made by Michael in the middle of the race. 

“We’re going to push the limits but consistency is all we ask for, and that was applied.”

Supercars is looking into the use of Hawk-Eye to speed up the decision process having admitted the camera technology could have helped the officials over the weekend.  

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