Shane van Gisbergen has been handed a two-place grid penalty for the Wilson Security Sandown 500 for an incident in practice with Fabian Coulthard.
Contact from van Gisbergen at the final corner spun the Shell Ford in the dying stages of Saturday morning’s final practice session.
Van Gisbergen said after the incident that he felt he’d been brake-tested by Coulthard, triggering the incident.
However, the reigning champion has now admitted to careless driving, with a two-place penalty demoting the #97 Holden from 19th to 21st on today’s grid.
“Following a DRD investigation and an admission of Careless Driving by Car #97, Shane van Gisbergen (making contact with Car #12, Fabian Coulthard, at Turn 12 and causing it to spin), the Stewards imposed a penalty of the Loss of 2 Grid Spots for Car #97, Shane van Gisbergen/Matt Campbell in Race 19,” read a stewards' report.
While Coulthard had been quick to brush off the incident itself, van Gisbergen's subsequent comments flared tensions between the two squads.
“I think it’s hard not to take umbrage with some of the comments we’ve been hearing in recent times,” said Shell V-Power Racing managing director Ryan Story following confirmation of the penalty.
“It’s fair to say that we like to be humble in victory and gallant in defeat and perhaps our friends down the pointy end of pit road take a different view on things.
“I think it was clear not only to the stewards who saw reason and common sense in that response, but most of the punters at home probably took the same view of it.”
On a horror Saturday at Sandown, van Gisbergen qualified just 16th in a session that included a late spin following contact from Jason Bright.
The Kiwi admitted fault for that incident, which Deputy Race Director Michael Masi determined did not warrant referral to the stewards.
Co-driver Campbell was then turned around following contact from Taz Douglas in the opening lap of the co-driver race in another incident that was investigated but not referred to the stewards.
The Simona De Silvestro/David Russell Nissan has meanwhile been demoted from 22nd to 24th on today’s grid after the Swiss was deemed to have impeded Jamie Whincup in qualifying.
Whincup lost time behind the Harvey Norman entry through the final corners having appeared destined to improve on his previous best time.