Erebus: Protest decision creates ‘new game’ in Supercars racing
By Daniel Herrero, Mark Fogarty
Monday 1st May, 2023 - 6:00am
A new precedent has been set for how Supercars drivers are to race by Erebus Motorsport’s unsuccessful protest, according to team CEO Barry Ryan.
Brodie Kostecki was leading in the closing stages of Race 7 at the Bosch Power Tools Perth SuperSprint when Shane van Gisbergen made contact as he executed the decisive pass at Turn 6.
Erebus’ request for investigation resulted in no punishment being handed out to the victorious Triple Eight Race Engineering driver, nor did the protest which would follow given it was dismissed.
Asked if he is clear now on what the rules of engagement are, Ryan told Speedcafe, “That was part of the process.
“We just wanted to go through the process and see what they said, and now we know that that’s acceptable.
“So, next time if Brodie or Will [Brown] get them in that situation, that’s the way they’re going to pass.
“The precedent’s set now, so there’s a new game on for how you can pass people and get away with it.”
Both Kostecki and van Gisbergen said shortly after Race 7 that they had been left ‘confused’ as to what the racing rules are, including because the former having been issued a bad sportsmanship flag for blocking in the moments prior to the pass.
The Erebus driver says he will change the way he races, when that question was posed to him by Speedcafe in the hours after the protest was dismissed.
“Yeah, definitely,” confirmed Kostecki.
“I mean, it set a pretty big precedent in my opinion, so it seems like you can just force your way into a hole as long as you’re ‘in control of your car’ and sort of touch someone wide and have the smallest bit of overlap.
“It’s just considered game on so it’s fine in my book, but yeah, it’s against the rules, but it is what it is.”
Erebus had argued a breach of Article 3.9 of the Code of Driving Conduct, which states, “It is not permitted for any Driver to unfairly gain an advantage as a result of contact to another Car.”
However, according to the stewards decision, it was observed that van Gisbergen had, in fact, not made contact with Kostecki’s rear bumper or right-rear wheel in the incident, as broadcast footage had suggested.
Furthermore, there was deemed to be “significant overlap” when they did then make “slight contact” just prior to the apex, and that the contact was ultimately initiated by the Erebus driver’s failure to leave racing room.
Kostecki also believed that the bad sportsmanship flag he received was “stupid”, and was aggrieved by van Gisbergen’s peppering of the rear bar of his #99 Camaro during the battle.
“To be honest, the whole deal was confusing for me with the bad sportsmanship flag and whatnot,” said Kostecki.
“I was just confused on how the whole deal sort of transpired and how I ended up with a bad sportsmanship flag.
“Shane was racing me hard and rubbing me and pushing me in my rear bar, and that’s sort of against the rules.
“But to be honest, I don’t really care about the whole sort of deal, but it’s just weird that I got a flag as supposedly a warning, but it is in the rules.
“I was just a bit confused about the whole deal, to be honest. So, the ruling’s [bad sportsmanship flag] pretty sort of stupid in my opinion and I’d hope that we can sort of change it in the future because the crowd and the fans deserve to see good racing, and right now it’s not the case.
“It was really good racing out there and I got a flag for it. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was pretty sort of frustrated when I came back in.”
Erebus’ protest cost it $4000, but Ryan maintains it was money well spent.
“It is [expensive] but sometimes you’ve got to do that to prove a point or to learn something,” he reasoned.
“So, if we’ve learnt now that we can get away with moves like that, we’ll be able to do a move like that and know we’re not going to get punished for it.
“If it’s the difference between winning or coming second, the four grand protest fee’s nothing.”
Kostecki continues to lead the championship after finishing second to Brown in the team’s first ever one-two, in Race 8, then third in Race 9.
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