T8 admits team orders 'breakdown in communication'

09 Jul
Red Bull Ampol drivers swap positions at the line

Red Bull Ampol Racing Team Manager Mark Dutton has admitted his team made a “breakdown in communication” over team orders in Townsville.

Shane van Gisbergen, who recorded his 500th start, gave fourth position back to Broc Feeney at the chequered flag in Race 17 at the NTI Townsville 500.

Van Gisbergen cut a frustrated figure over the radio when informed he would have to give back fourth position to Feeney if he was unable to catch Andre Heimgartner.

The reigning champion, who started 25th and last, passed Feeney before chasing Brad Jones Racing’s Heimgartner for the final podium position.

Speaking after the race, Dutton said: “We just had a little bit of a breakdown in communication.

“From the garage, we were getting ready to let them race, and then Shane was pretty happy to sit behind Broc so we told Broc, go hard, chase down P3.

“Because we pressured Broc to do that on the proviso that he was safe from behind, he’s blown his tyres off.

“Then he wasn’t safe from behind, and then we said to Shane, chase down P3 as well.

“Above all, we want the podium — if not, then the round win.”

On van Gisbergen’s post-ran queries, Dutton said: “Obviously, he was asking what the go was. Obviously, some more discussion to come.


"We’ll debrief everything like we always do.”

Van Gisbergen had been compromised on strategy after starting last, and was turned around on lap 1. During his charge through the field, he helped Feeney through when making overtakes.

Towards the end of the race, the #97 was quicker; Feeney was passed by van Gisbergen on lap 82, and the Kiwi set off after countryman Heimgartner.

However, when asked to give the spot back if he couldn’t catch Heimgartner, van Gisbergen replied: “Why do I have to give it back? I just passed him.”

Van Gisbergen claimed Feeney had burnt off his rear tyres, but returned Feeney to fourth position at the end of the race.

Speaking afterwards, Feeney said: "I didn’t really know what was going on; I just left that to the team that.

“I saw him slowing down, I asked what was going on, they said he was letting me back past. I’m sure they’ll sort that out in debrief.

"I think we work great together as a team. In that second-last stint, he was making moves and then setting it up for me sort of thing, and we were following each other around.

“I have no idea what goes on behind the scenes. I was just driving my car and I didn’t know if I expected that at the end — I’ve never really played these team games before."

The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship will resume at the Beaurepaires Sydney SuperNight on July 28-30. Tickets are on sale now.

Related News