Shane van Gisbergen has slammed a grid penalty awarded to him for an incident in Sandown practice with Ford rival Fabian Coulthard.
Van Gisbergen and co-driver Matt Campbell will start today’s Wilson Security Sandown 500 in 21st after receiving a two-place penalty for the Kiwi's tangle with the Shell Ford in Saturday morning practice.
“It’s a weird one, being penalised for practice,” said the reigning champion in response to the penalty.
“It was a silly incident. Fabian was going so slow, wrecked his lap and I ended up running up the back of him.
“If that’s how it’s going to be in practice, for the rest of the year I’ll get in his way every time. It’s pretty stupid.”
Van Gisbergen’s comments after the incident yesterday suggesting that he’d been brake-tested by Coulthard flared tensions with Shell V-Power Racing.
The spat comes just one event after Red Bull team manager Mark Dutton labelled Scott McLaughlin’s punt on van Gisbergen at Sydney Motorsport Park a deliberate act.
“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 grid 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.”
Van Gisbergen’s troubled Sandown weekend meanwhile took a positive turn in this morning’s warm-up, which he ended second fastest.
“I feel pretty good about today,” he said.
“The car was pretty good [in the warm-up], much better than it has been, and Matty was on it too.
“We start 80th or something but we’re going to be coming hard.
“We just have to keep a straight car, get through the first lap clean and then start picking them off. “