Baird: No change to Supercars racing rules

Shot 1: Shane van Gisbergen (left of frame) and Brodie Kostecki (right)

Supercars Driving Standards Advisor Craig Baird insists there is no change to the category’s racing rules despite Erebus Motorsport CEO Barry Ryan’s assertion that a new precedent has been set.

Ryan declared that Supercars is a “new game” after a protest over Shane van Gisbergen’s race-winning pass of Brodie Kostecki, during which the two made contact at Turn 6 of Wanneroo Raceway, was dismissed.

Baird says no such thing is true.

“I’m happy with my decisions, but I’m disappointed that the two blokes that I just sat down after the protest and went through the rules of engagement – Brodie and Barry – didn’t take it onboard,” he told Speedcafe.

“The rules of engagement certainly aren’t any contact goes, and what we clearly proved to Barry was the hole on that lap was there.

“Shane got into the hole without contact; yes, there was contact, but by that time, there was sufficient overlap.

“So, the two cars rubbed and rubbing’s racing sometimes, so it was a play on; no driver did anything wrong.

“That’s the part that disappoints me is that Barry, originally in his statement, said [Kostecki] got hit in the rear bumper on the way into the corner, then the right-rear tyre, then got bashed out of the way.

“Well, no, both drivers were racing hard but, in my opinion, fair.”

Analysis of multiple camera angles and frames is said to have shown that, when the controversial pass occurred, van Gisbergen did not in fact make contact with Kostecki until there was “significant overlap,” according to stewards.

See screenshots above and below

Their decision stated, “The footage demonstrably showed that there was no contact by Car 97 [van Gisbergen] with the rear bumper or right rear wheel of Car 99 [Kostecki] as had been suggested.

“Rather it showed that on the entry to turn 6, Car 99 had been defending by staying to the right side of the Race-Track and had then moved left, back to the racing line, for the turn-in for turn 6.

“As Car 99 did do, Car 97 moved up into the space left by Car 99 on the inside of the approach to turn 6.

“Just prior to the apex to turn 6, slight contact occurred between the two Cars at a point when Car 97 had significant overlap on Car 99.”

Baird explained, “The onus is on the overtaking driver, but then that transfers once there’s sufficient overlap; that transfers a little bit of responsibly back on to the person that’s being overtaken.”

Also controversial were Kostecki’s bad sportsmanship flag for ‘blocking’ per the radio message on the Race Management Channel, and the many instances in which van Gisbergen made contact with the rear bumper of the #99 Camaro.

Baird stated that “blocking is fine,” but that the issue was a handful of occasions when Kostecki left van Gisbergen insufficient racing room while there was already an overlap.

“95 percent of his blocking was fine,” said the DSA.

“It was just a couple of occasions that I got the boys to give me some data quickly, and they just they said, ‘Yes, that run to Turn 6, he [van Gisbergen] definitely lifted out of the throttle.’

“He was pushed off track, he was pushed off track limits, over the line on the inside, with overlap, which Mark Larkham proved on the TV.

“That’s overstepping the mark.

“The bad sportsmanship flag, there’s no penalty attached to it. It’s just my way of communicating with Brodie, which I explained to him during our hearing; it’s just a little tap on the shoulder.”

Baird said the nose-to-tail contact was “no foul; we’re motor racing,” but also noted that van Gisbergen did not make contact in the corners leading up to the pass.

“You can’t just bump someone out of the road; not at all,” he remarked.

“What people don’t understand is that, on the passing lap, Shane never touched him [in Turns] 3, 4, or 5.

“He didn’t unsettle him to get a run on him; it was a clean run.”

Baird also declared that an open-slather approach, as van Gisbergen suggested post-Race 7 that he would prefer, is not feasible either.

“If they raced like that all the time, and someone ended up over the fence, I’m sure someone would come back and go, ‘There’s been a major accident; why do you let them race like that?” he ventured.

A Supercars Championship race winner himself, with the Stone Brothers Racing team from which Erebus morphed, Baird says he has the utmost respect for the two drivers he was observing.

“I’m just disappointed because I’ve got two drivers that I’ve got huge respect for that treat me with respect every time, I get on really well with both of them, and they’re absolute class acts [in] the way they go about their racing, and it really muddied the waters of such a good race to end up in a protest room over something that wasn’t there,” he commented.

“It was a hard racing pass. Yep, both of them made contact, but if we’ve got to take that out of the sport, then what are we doing? It’s not motor racing anymore.”

Shot 2: A shot as the drivers move through the corner

Shot 3: van Gisbergen moves onto the kerb as Kostecki turns in

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