A good result at Sandown is crucial for Mark Winterbottom’s championship defence and now the #1 racer will need to push through from the back of the grid.
Winterbottom’s co-driver Dean Canto was slapped with a drive-through penalty after an incident with Tony D’Alberto (Scott Pye) and Steven Richards (sharing with other title fighter Craig Lowndes) at turn one on lap one.
While Frosty was surprised with the punishment, he kept his cool watching the 60km race from the garage. He’ll start 24th for the race to determine ARMOR ALL Pole Position while arch-rival Jamie Whincup lines up first after his co-driver Paul Dumbrell’s victory.
“He got a good start – looks like he got hit in the back to be honest,” Winterbottom said on the coverage.
“We should’ve put him up the front [with] clearer traffic – the start he did was pretty good.
“It’s a big day tomorrow, you serve your penalty, get on with it and race again this arvo.”
Winterbottom was shocked to see the penalty come through, given there were multiple cars involved in the incident off the start.
“It was just a little contact – looks like he got hit in the rear, so I’m surprised he got a drive through for that because when you’re getting pushed in that concertina stuff it’s always a grey area.
“It is what it is … we’ll keep trucking on.”
Canto admitted he made an error approaching turn one, but was also unsure the incident was entirely his fault.
“I locked the outside front wheel, which is not normal and though maybe cold tyres, maybe my bad,” he said.
“A drive-through penalty is not the way I wanted to start for Mark, good news the car was quite strong. Poor Tony – sorry Tony… nothing major but it ended up pretty badly for us.”
Canto was spotted on-camera having a laugh with D’Alberto post-race.
However primary driver Scott Pye was unhappy when watching the incident, saying the 'judges did their job today'.
His and D’Alberto’s DJR Team Penske Falcon was fastest in the third practice session yesterday but qualified 12th today. Pye starts this race 19th while Whincup and Chaz Mostert will start from the front row.