Scott McLaughlin has been slapped with a 25-point penalty for his rejoin after an incident with Jamie Whincup that affected the outcome of the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
McLaughlin was on a different fuel strategy to Whincup and Garth Tander, but it was important for Whincup to get past the Volvo in case any late incidents meant it could get through to the end of the race on fuel.
Whincup dived on the Volvo at the last corner and tipped McLaughlin off the circuit. As Whincup waited to redress Tander got tangled in the incident, sustaining damage that meant he couldn’t finish the race.
McLaughlin ended 15th and was devastated with the result.
“I’m gutted,” he told supercars.com.
“I’m more gutted for Garry than myself, I wanted to win it for Garry more than anyone and the team. It’s disappointing … a pretty bad day.”
While the Stewards Summary has not been released officially, McLaughlin confirmed he was punished for his re-enter, which contributed to the crash.
“I’ve just been given a 25-point penalty for my re-enter,” he said.
His take on the incident?
“It was pretty obvious. I blocked and did what I felt was legal. All I had to do was keep him behind me and I was trying to be aggressive with that as well.
“I knew Jamie was fast, he threw it down the inside, which he is well entitled to do, he said to me the move was on but it was on until we lost control so it’s racing in some ways, but just disappointed.”
The Red Bull driver did speak to McLaughlin post-race but did not go down to the Holden Racing Team garage.
“I was pretty angry when he spoke to me so I didn’t really speak back but he did come see me and said sorry, and the move was on.
“It’s all well and good that he thinks the move was on but a move’s on when you’re not locked up and actually make the pass and go side by side, as he knows.”
The two drivers have often raced closely on-track and McLaughlin spoke respectfully about his competitor.
“I’ve had some great battles with Jamie over the years and I don’t think that’s going to change. I’ve got a ton of respect for the guy, just unfortunately these things happen.”
McLaughlin wasn’t sure of the damage to his car, but it was able to finish the race.
“I don’t know, I’ve hardly seen it, I got out of the car and just left. It was pretty banged up and bruised.”