Frosty cold on finish

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 09/07/2016
  • By Kassie Gadeke

Mark Winterbottom believes lapped cars spoiled the finish of today’s race at the Castrol EDGE Townsville 400.

The field was bunched up by the Safety Car with a handful of laps remaining, exciting fans for a big finish – but lapped cars of Tim Blanchard, Chris Pither and Rick Kelly meant the top three could not battle it out to the chequered flag.

Winterbottom was surprised by the lack of blue flags (forcing the cars to let the leaders past) and said a similar congested finish would ruin the drama of a huge race like the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

“From a TV point of view I think it looks pretty average,” Winterbottom said.

“Imagine Bathurst and that havoc went down – you’ve got one of the biggest races of the year and you’re not fighting each other.

“There were no blue flags getting waved either, so normally the guys would pull over. But they’re racing – for 15th, 14th and 13th, or 23rd or whatever it was – so it’s a tough one.

“Different parts of the race they deem different things – but if that was the end of Bathurst it would be a bit of an anti-climax, really.

“It’d be interesting to see how they do it, but it may be late in the race cars have to two laps to go they’re not going to catch the train so something could’ve been done about it but you just think of the big races, they shouldn’t finish like that.”

Winterbottom had Aaren Russell trying to unlap himself at the end of one race in Perth, and while Russell said he was fighting his own race and working his strategy, Winterbottom was worried it was going to end his race.

Townsville race winner Jamie Whincup didn’t offer an opinion on the matter given it would affect the other cars’ ability to earn their positions.  

“You can’t … comment – there’s obviously so many factors involved to make a rule change like that,” he said.

“You’ve got to be two laps down to run through the pit lane.

“The thing ism you’ve got to give cars the opportunity to get their lap back. You’ve got to be careful not to write their race off, so I’ll sit on the fence for that one.”

Second placed Van Gisbergen thought his teammate would’ve had the advantage at the restart anyway.

“The lapped cars they’re fighting for 83rd but they’re still racing their fight, so it’s a difficult one.”

Blanchard, Pither and Kelly finished the race in positions 19 to 21.   

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