Super3 team found guilty of testing rules breach

The Anderson Motorsport Falcon driven by Brad Vaughan. Picture: Ross Gibb

Anderson Motorsport has been fined and its driver Brad Vaughan forced to start from pit lane for tomorrow’s opening Super2/Super3 Series race of the Bunnings Trade Perth SuperNight for breaching testing rules.

A stewards report has revealed that Vaughan drove the #5 Ford Falcon FG at Wanneroo Raceway on Monday this week.

That goes against Rule D1.3.4 relating to a pre-event test ban, whereby competitors are prohibited from running at a circuit from the Saturday before an event begins.

Team boss Michael Anderson was subsequently fined $10,000, of which half is suspended until the end of the year, while Vaughan has been consigned to a pit lane start.

The report notes that Anderson pleaded ignorance, having assumed “that the DS2 restrictions did not apply to DS3 Cars”. Anderson Motorsport competed in the 2020 Super2 Series with Tyler Everingham.

However, the stewards felt it important to ensure a precedent is set to deter any further potential breaches.

“A breach of this Rule confers an obvious sporting advantage for the Competitor and the Driver,” read the report, in part.

“It demands a heavy Penalty as a deterrent to other Competitors.

“The Stewards would have imposed a more severe Penalty in this case were the breach to have been concealed.

“In this case Car 5 was driven at the Circuit in plain sight of onlookers and within a group of other vehicles.

“The Stewards are satisfied that the breach was not deliberate but was a consequence of the Competitor having failed to discharge his obligation to familiarise himself with the Rules.”

Vaughan was second in class and 15th outright in Practice 2 this afternoon.

Super3 qualifying begins at 14:00 AWST/16:00 AEST tomorrow, ahead of a 26-lap race starting 17:20 AWST/19:20 AEST.

The full stewards report:

D1.3.4 – DS3 Testing – Pre-Event Test Ban – a Car cannot be driven at any Circuit at which an Event is scheduled to take place from 00.01 on the Saturday preceding the commencement of the Scheduled Event without the express written approval of the DS3 Category Manager, and then only for the purposes of publicity of the Event.

Car 5 is relegated to start Race 1 at this Event from Pit Lane and a Fine in the sum of $10,000 is imposed on the Competitor, Michael Anderson, of which $5,000 is suspended until 31 December 2022, providing the Competitor commits no further breach of Rule D1.3.4 prior to that date.

The Competitor admitted that Car 5 had been driven by the Driver at this Circuit on 25 April 2022 and therefore within the Pre-Event Test Ban period but said that he was not aware of Rule D1.3.4 and only did so after he had made a verbal enquiry of the DS3 Category Manager as to whether there were any restrictions on DS3 Testing and had been told that there were no restrictions on DS3 Testing of any kind. On that basis he denied any breach of the Rules.

The Competitor acknowledged that he had not informed the DS3 Category Manager during that conversation when or where he intended to Test Car 5, that he had made no note of the conversation and that he had not sought to confirm what he claimed to have been told in writing. The Competitor told the Stewards that because he had previously worked for a DS2 Team, he was well aware of the Testing restrictions for DS2, including the Pre-Event Test Ban, but assumed without consulting the Supercars Operations Manual, and on the basis of what he claimed to have been told by the DS3 Category Manager, that the DS2 restrictions did not apply to DS3 Cars.

The DS3 Category Manager told the Stewards that he did receive a telephone enquiry from the Competitor about DS3 Testing on 21 April 2022 and said that he told the Competitor that there was no limit on the number of Test Days for DS3 Cars. He said that the Competitor had not made any specific enquiry for permission to Test Car 5 at any particular Circuit on any particular date but he told the Competitor that the Competitor would need to provide written notification to the DS3 Category Manager before Testing Car 5. The Competitor disputed the DS3 Category Manager’s account of the conversation.

Rule A3.1 provides that every person to whom the Rules apply is deemed to have acquainted themselves with the Rules. Rule A3.3 provides that ignorance of the Rules provides no excuse from the observance of the Rules.

The Stewards are satisfied that the Competitor breached Rule D1.3.4 and the breach could not be excused by his account of his conversation with the DS3 Category Manager even were the Stewards to have accepted that account over that of the Category Manager (which the Stewards are disinclined to do in this case). On any view, it is unsatisfactory and no answer to a breach to suggest that a Competitor who has elected not to consult the Manual should be excused by a claimed verbal conversation with an official which could in any event have easily been confirmed in writing, had it occurred.

A breach of this Rule confers an obvious sporting advantage for the Competitor and the Driver. It demands a heavy Penalty as a deterrent to other Competitors. The Stewards would have imposed a more severe Penalty in this case were the breach to have been concealed. In this case Car 5 was driven at the Circuit in plain sight of onlookers and within a group of other vehicles. The Stewards are satisfied that the breach was not deliberate but was a consequence of the Competitor having failed to discharge his obligation to familiarise himself with the Rules.

The Competitor is reminded that Decisions and Penalties that may be subject to Appeal are set out in B7.7.2 and the Rights to and process for an Appeal are set out in B5.

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