Dutton: ‘It wouldn’t matter if Roland was driving the car’

Jamie Whincup

Jamie Whincup’s status as incoming Triple Eight managing director makes no difference when team orders need to be issued, says team manager Mark Dutton.

Whincup was at the centre of a serious flare-up between the Red Bull Ampol Racing drivers during Race 28 of the Repco Supercars Championship when he defended second position stoutly from Shane van Gisbergen.

On multiple occasions, the seven-time champion drove his team-mate wide at Sydney Motorsport Park in an exchange which Dutton believes cost the squad a one-two.

They would remain second and third for the balance of the race but the fact neither was able to run down Erebus Motorsport’s Will Brown made for a disappointing outcome for Triple Eight, in Whincup’s third-last event as a full-time Supercars driver.

Dutton himself even radioed to Whincup to “let Shane go through” during the battle, but rejected any suggestion that the dynamic is different because the 38-year-old is about to take over from Roland Dane as the ultimate boss at Banyo.

“No, it’s nothing to do with future boss,” he told Speedcafe.com.

“He’s part of the team, and he’s a driver in the car.

“So, no, it wouldn’t matter if Roland was driving the car.

“When we’re on the battlefield, when we’re competing, we all have our roles and positions.

“It doesn’t matter what your position is outside the car; when it’s race time, everyone has their positions.”

Whincup’s promotion from driver, and minority shareholder in Triple Eight Race Engineering, to managing director/team principal does formally make him van Gisbergen’s superior within the organisation next year.

He rejected a jocular suggestion from Brown during the press conference that van Gisbergen is in line for a pay cut next year, and said there will be no issue between the two.

“Only blues we have are on-track, so when we’re not on-track, we’ll be a hundred percent fine,” said the four-time Bathurst 1000 winner.

Van Gisbergen had a similar view about the relationship going into 2022.

Whincup forces Shane van Gisbergen wide

“I think it’ll be awesome,” said the championship leader.

“I really respect him and we get along really well as friends and stuff.

“We’ve had the odd tense moment, of course, or we differ on set-ups, but generally we’ve been really good team-mates and I’ve learnt a lot off him and got a lot of respect for him, so I think he’ll be a good team boss next year.”

Dutton, formerly Whincup’s race engineer but holding the overarching team manager role since 2014, confirmed that his intervention on the radio was somewhat unusual, representing an escalation of matters.

“We prefer not to do that, but sometimes as a little bit of an exclamation mark at the end of the sentence, that has to happen,” he explained.

“It didn’t have the desired outcome, but yeah, we try and avoid that.”

However, having joked on the telecast that Dane might have sacked him during that race, Dutton was able to reassure Speedcafe.com afterwards that he does indeed remain in employment.

Furthermore, the two are on the same page as each other about what transpired.

“Yeah, I heard from Roland [after the race],” recounted Dutton.

“I still have a job, which is a good start, because I have a mortgage.

“Talked through with him, he was calm and collected, and we had a professional conversation.

“Everything he was saying, I was saying as well, not because I was just agreeing with him; it’s because he was right.

“So, we agreed on those things [and] I’ve had chats with Jamie and Shane, et cetera.”

The team is set to address the matter fully in its post-event debrief today.

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