Defending Supercars champ Mark Winterbottom is ruing a horror run at the CrownBet Darwin Triple Crown today.
Winterbottom fell from first to fourth in the championship standings after finishing 20th in the 200km race and receiving two pit lane drive through penalties.
He was blunt about the performance, which went downhill after an early safety car restart when he ploughed into Todd Kelly’s Nissan. He had to pit for repairs and later serve the pit lane penalty.
“That was probably one of my worst efforts in a race car,”
“The car was fast but it was hard to drive.
“At the restart it was unfortunate we made contact with Todd. I tried to position myself but when he went defensive I tapped his rear guard and hit him in the worst spot possible. His rear end crumpled, as did my front end, and it was a shame for both of us.”
Winterbottom tangled with rookie Aaren Russell later in the race but he and team boss Tim Edwards did not feel a penalty was deserved.
“The incident at the end happened after I had been pushed off the track,” Winterbottom said.
“I pushed back but got the penalty – it was bizarre. I am not going to be pushed around. I take responsibility for the first penalty as I unfortunately wrecked (Todd’s) race. But I don’t agree with the second one.”
Team boss Tim Edwards was not pleased with the day, with Chaz Mostert involved in the lap one melee with Fabian Coulthard and Cameron Waters starting back in the pack and copping front corner damage in the rush in pit lane.
“It was terrible and all for different reasons – if I wanted to draw a positive for today, it was for 30 laps or more, Frosty was the fastest car on track,” Tim Edwards told supercars.com.
“Apart from that, it’s just a shocking day. Small mistakes that had large consequences.”
He also felt the penalty for contact with Russell was not necessary.
“He put his hand up straight away [after Kelly incident] he made a small mistake and got the drive-through.
“I agree with Frosty, I think the second drive-through was uncalled for – he was pushed off the track there were people running into the back of him. They were all driving rough on each other and he got the penalty.”