Van Gisbergen explains controversial pitstop

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 03/11/2018
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus

Shane van Gisbergen said his clutch had “been a bit average” in pitstops before a crucial wheel-spinning moment in the Pukekohe opener that is the subject of a post-race investigation.

Van Gisbergen’s win in Race 28 of the season remains provisional after his rear wheels were seen to rotate in his second pitstop during the 200km contest, triggering an inquiry.

The Red Bull Holden Racing Team driver beat championship leader Scott McLaughlin in thrilling circumstances, overcoming a five-second time penalty for an unrelated on-track incident.

Although provisionally moving to within two points of McLaughlin, van Gisbergen could face another time penalty for the pitstop issue.

Supercars’ rules prohibit the spinning of rear wheels in pitstops for safety reasons. The rules in question state:

11.8.8  During any Pit Stop, from the time the Car leaves the ground until it returns to the ground, it is not permitted to have the clutch engaged so as to cause the rear wheels to rotate unless prior approval is given by the S&TD (Sporting & Technical Director).

11.8.8 .1 Where the S&TD grants such approval, the wheels must stop rotating prior to the Car being lowered to the ground. For the sake of clarity, the wheels must not be rotating while the Car is being lowered to the ground.

11.8.8 .2 A slight movement of the rear wheels indicating the engagement of a gear will not, at the sole discretion of the S&TD, constitute the rear wheels rotating.

Van Gisbergen explained to media post-race how the pitstop unfolded from his perspective.

“In the pitstop, the clutch has been a bit average and as it dropped I think it grabbed a little bit,” van Gisbergen.

“I didn’t feel the wheels spin, the clutch was on the floor, but I just let my handbrake go a bit earlier than before and it must have just started spinning.

“I didn’t even know about it until after the race.”

Asked if he expects a penalty, van Gisbergen added: “Hopefully they take into consideration the issues we had, but I don’t know what the exact wording of the rule is.

“I’ll let the other guys deal with that, but I did what I can with my foot, and we’ll see what happens.”

Van Gisbergen meanwhile said he was surprised by the five-second in-race penalty for bumping McLaughlin at the hairpin during their battle.

“It was a little bump, but I thought it would have been fine as he did get back on the brakes, but that was cool, it was a good bit of racing there,” he said.

“I’d already pulled a second and then backed off, and they said you have a five-second penalty, we want qualifying laps.

“It woke me back up. At the end it was bloody hard, I was spent, the tyres were pretty much stuffed from trying to get past and I had to drop back into the threes.

“I did some big laps there and it’s ruined me now, but it was cool. I was just doing stupid stuff the last five laps, trying to make the gap.

“On the last lap, I almost came undone, four wheels down the grass, but got across the line.”

After the in-race penalty was applied, van Gisbergen's provisional margin of victory over McLaughlin was 0.5119 seconds.

The pitstop is not alone in being investigated, with Richie Stanaway's part in Fabian Coulthard's crash to come under further review beyond a drive-through penalty served during the race.

A pair of incidents involving Garth Tander on laps one and two – with Craig Lowndes and then Simona De Silvestro and James Golding – were also set aside for proper analysis.

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