Motorsport Australia clarifies MSR disqualification explanation

Jake Kostecki was disqualified from Race 16

Motorsport Australia has moved to clarify its decision to disqualify Jake Kostecki from Race 16 of the Repco Supercars Championship in light of new evidence.

The initial decision handed down by Motorsport Australia stewards stated that both left- and right-rear tyres on the #34 Holden ZB Commodore were under pressure on the grid prior to the race start.

However, evidence provided by the team to stewards after a hearing took place confirmed only one tyre was under the minimum 17 psi and as such in breach of rule D17.1.17.

The Motorsport Australia statement also confirmed the initial decision stated an incorrect time of breach in its findings.

Data confirmed the tyre was not compliant from one minute before the formation lap until the car reached Turn 3 on the formation lap.

Matt Stone Racing boss Matt Stone had on Sunday night voiced his frustration at a perceived double standard, having seen Brad Jones Racing’s Nick Percat escape disqualification for a similar indiscretion at the Darwin Triple Crown last month.

Regardless, the team was pleased to have Motorsport Australia clarify its version of events, releasing a statement whereby it accepted the penalty and affirmed it will not challenge the decision.

The team added it had let Kostecki down, which cost them a total of 45 points in the drivers’ and teams’ championship.

“Firstly and most importantly MSR accept the decision of the Stewards and do not dispute that one of our tyres dropped below 17 psi approximately one minute before the formation lap of Race 16 after sitting on the grid for around 29 minutes,” the Matt Stone Racing statement read.

“The team also accepts the penalty of disqualification as such a ruling adheres clearly to rule D17.1.17 of the Operations Manual which is our expectation as team.

“The rule states that ‘The minimum permitted pressure of a Control Tyre when fitted to a Car is 17 psi which must be achieved at any time that the Car is on the Circuit during any Session.’

“Naturally the team are very disappointed that such a small error has had such a big penalty. We are particularly annoyed that we let our driver Jake Kostecki down on this occasion as he drove a good race and should have banked some valuable championship points.

“The team has already reviewed our calculations and procedures to do everything we can to avoid this happening again.

“Supercars is the most competitive touring car racing category in the world and every team pushes every legal limit they can, as they should. That’s the business we are in and occasionally all the teams make a mistake of some kind.

“In this case forecasting the heat of the sun and track temperature over a stationary 30 minute period whilst on the grid isn’t sometimes an exact science which is why we allow for a margin of error but [on Sunday] we just got that forecast slightly wrong and the regulations state that teams are not allowed to put any air in their tyres on the grid anymore so once the cars leave the garage there is literally nothing you can do about it in most cases.

“We would hate to see a Championship decided on something like this. That’s not what the sport is about so maybe the rule should be rolled back to what it used to be where the teams were allowed to bleed the tyres back on the grid as you still can in Super2 for instance.

“Thank you again to our fans and partners for all your support. We look forward to bouncing back at this weekend’s WD-40 Townsville SuperSprint.”

Kostecki and team-mate Zane Goddard will be back on track this weekend at the Reid Park Street Circuit for the WD-40 Townsville SuperSprint on July 17-18.

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