Dutton: McLaughlin ‘intentionally spun’ Van Gisbergen
By Stefan Bartholomaeus
Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
Triple Eight team manager Mark Dutton has slammed Scott McLaughlin for “intentionally” spinning Shane van Gisbergen from the lead of Race 17 at the Red Rooster Sydney SuperSprint.
McLaughlin made contact with the back of the #97 Red Bull Holden at turn 2, spinning Van Gisbergen around in front of the field.
Van Gisbergen had taken the lead moments earlier with an opportunistic move down the front straight on a Safety Car restart that is the subject of an ongoing post-race investigation.
The two cars made minor side-to-side contact as Van Gisbergen drew alongside and took the lead, which Dutton believes triggered a retaliation from McLaughlin at turn 2.
“You can see that McLaughlin has unloaded him, which was bad enough, but then to come in with the second hit, which was quite big, shows that he actually intentionally spun the car,” Dutton told Supercars.com.
“It’s not careless driving, it’s not a slip of this, it’s not that he braked too deep, it’s nothing like that, he intentionally took out the car that passed him.”
“You can only assume it’s a frustration, red mist type thing,” he added when asked if he thought the second hit was based on frustration over the restart.
“Why else would you do it? You’d think he’s not that much of a bad sport, but make up your own mind.
“People will argue that Shane was rubbing down the front straight so the retaliation was ok, but retaliation is not ok and that’s clear in every other sport.
“And for what? A bit of side-to-side rubbing is never going to cost you a position. It was a poor decision… he didn’t go when he should have.
“It was a great move by Shane, he out-foxed and out-thought him and then out-drove him and then he got spun.”
Dutton is confident that Van Gisbergen doesn't have a case to answer in the restart investigation, which will look at whether the Red Bull entry overlapped with McLaughlin before the green flag was waved.
He hit-out, however, at the 15 second time penalty that saw McLaughlin drop from second to 10th in the final result.
Van Gisbergen recovered to just 15th and now sits 279 points adrift of McLaughlin in the championship.
“What’s it saying to the rest of the drivers that you can take out someone that passes you and get 15 seconds?” said Dutton.
“That’s their job to interpret that, but I think it’s a light penalty. I don’t understand why it’s not a drive-through.
“Not only did it have the effect of wrecking Shane’s race but it had the effect of damaging (David) Reynolds’ race and Jamie (Whincup)’s race.
“Jamie was clearly in the box seat. He had the freshest tyres, had been going fast and was there at the restart. It’s a pretty disappointing move.”
McLaughlin admitted after the race that he had been annoyed by Van Gisbergen’s restart move, describing the subsequent turn 2 contact as “a bad judgement”.
“I’ve got to look at the rules and stuff because I felt like Shane pulled out a bit early,” he said.
“What happened on the front-straight was history, that peeved me off a little bit and then I just made a bad judgement into turn 2.
“I copped the penalty, my fault… at the end of the day you do the crime, you do the time.”