De Pasquale penalised for Caruso clash

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 04/08/2018
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus

Anton De Pasquale has been docked 35 championship points following a late-race clash with Michael Caruso at the Red Rooster Sydney SuperNight 300.

The Penrite Erebus Holden and Drive.com.au Nissan made side-to-side contact on the run between Turns 6 and 7 following a Safety Car restart.

Caruso, who had taken the restart in 11th, was spun to the right-hand-side as a result of the collision, coming to rest in the gravel.

The #23 Altima eventually finished three laps down in 22nd, while De Pasquale was the last lead-lap runner in 18th.

Stewards determined De Pasquale had driven recklessly and docked him 35 points, which does not change his 20th position in the championship.

De Pasquale received the same penalty for a hit on Caruso in the Sunday race in Townsville last month, with the pair now clashing for a second time in three events.

“I was just trying to pass him around the outside," De Pasquale explained after returning from a stewards' hearing.

“We made a little bit of contact on the exit, and that dragged me left. We tangled wheels, and it was a bad result for both of us.

“Once you get stuck wheel-to-wheel it's quite hard to get out of it.”

Stressing his disappointment over losing a significant haul of points, Caruso said it felt like a big hit. 

"I just came off the corner, we were side-by-side, I’ve tried to move to the middle of the track and a bit further and copped a really big hit which launched the car in the air," he said.

“It got a lot of air, it was a pretty big hit again; the car has had a hit on every single corner in the last few weeks, which is a bit disappointing for the team.

"When you’re running where we were, it’s not where we want to be, but when it’s 300 points on the table, we’re obviously suffering for it in the championship.

"I'm disappointed for the team, the people that work here and the sponsors because a lot of effort goes into these events.”

Despite the pair of clashes, Caruso downplayed any rivalry with the rookie.

“What can I say? I’m not here to slag him or anything, just more disappointed for the crew to be honest than anything else," he said.

"Within a month it’s happened twice now; when you see the look on the face of the people that work here, that hurts just as much.”

De Pasquale also said he has no ongoing beef with the Nissan driver.

“From my side of things that had nothing to do with it, it's a separate incident. It's just a coincidence,” he said.

“It's a shame because we were going pretty well. You don't want that to happen with anybody.”

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