Kostecki puts his hand up

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 24/07/2016
  • By Kassie Gadeke

Young rookie Kurt Kostecki has taken the blame for hindering Mark Winterbottom on his fast qualifying lap.

The Preston Hire Racing driver will start one position back from where he qualified, in 26th, with the stewards handing him a two grid spot penalty.

Prodrive Racing Australia boss Tim Edwards was livid post-session, saying Kostecki’s actions could have caused a major accident.

The 18-year old racer – who stands in for injured Lee Holdsworth – apologised but was unhappy with the fuss the rival team had made on the television coverage.

“After our first run we spent a little bit more time in the pits going over data, so that put us a little bit out of sync,” Kostecki told supercars.com.

“Then once we came out for our third run I was released into the train.

“I’ve never been in a situation like that before, where I’ve had to make a decision about whether to let them go or press on. I just made the wrong decision.

“I put my hand up, it was the wrong thing to do and I apologise because I ruined their qualifying.

“But these things happen – rather than whinging about it, just get on with the job.”

Edwards said the big question was whether Supercars needed a more extensive licencing system to ensure the safety of the drivers – an issue Winterbottom raised days ago.

“You’ve got to ask yourself is the licencing system good enough when it allows drivers who don’t have the right amount of experience to go out there because that could’ve been a huge accident,” he told supercars.com.

“Frosty could’ve gone off and ended up over the tyres at turn three because that was a very near miss.”

He acknowledged Kostecki was in the situation for the first time, in just his fourth Supercars qualifying session, but didn’t want his drivers at risk.

“Unfortunately for Kurt I think he was a bit like a rabbit in a headlight – his team sends him out one lap behind the whole field and he’s just froze,” Edwards said.

“But you’ve seen it on the replay from Frosty’s car – that was a real close call.

“Cam had exactly the same thing. But what’s worse is on Cam’s previous run when Cam went off that was Kurt as well. Kurt was on an in-lap – he sat straight on the racing line coming into turn four… so he destroyed both of Cam’s laps.”

Winterbottom will start from fifth for this afternoon’s race and Waters from 12th, with Jamie Whincup having secured ARMOR ALL Pole Position.

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