Bathurst winner may be stripped of title
SCOTT McLaughlin could be stripped of his Bathurst 1000 win after DJR/Team Penske were charged for issuing an illegal "team order'' that unfairly helped the Ford driver conquer Mount Panorama.
In a dramatic aftermath that has soured one the great Bathurst 1000 finishes, Supercars laid a "team orders'' charge against McLaughlin's team following a two-hour hearing at Mount Panorama on Sunday night.
McLaughlin could be denied his first ever Bathurst win with the victory to remain "provisional'' until a further hearing at the Gold Coast 600 next round determined the team's Bathurst fate.
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McLaughlin gained a 47second advantage after his teammate Fabian Coulthard held up the field when a safety car was called on lap 134.
It is alleged that the team ordered Coulthard to "go slow and create an unwarranted large gap between Cars #17 and Car #12 for tactical reasons''.
Coulthard was in third place at the time of the alleged incident and his actions saw McLaughlin's lead increased by 47 seconds.
Coulthard and team boss Ryan Story were grilled at an extraordinary post race hearing that continued until 10pm.
Television footage, radio transmissions, and data were examined before the sensational charge was laid.
"Following the Race the Stewards summonsed the Authorised Representative of Racing Team (Aust) Pty Ltd, the Driver of Car #12 and Car #12's engineer to a Hearing and requested that the DRD obtain a recording of the radio communications between Car #12 and Car #12's engineer during the SC deployment,'' said CAMS in a statement.
"That hearing commenced at 2000hrs on Sunday 13 October.
"After interviewing Mr Story, the Driver of Car #12 and Car #12's engineer, and reviewing Hawk Eye footage of the incident, including in-Car footage from Car #12, the interview of Mr Story and Supercars telemetry data for Car #12, the Stewards, while making no findings, determined that the evidence was sufficient to call upon Racing Team (Aust) Pty Ltd to answer whether it breached Rule D24.1 and recommended to the DRD that he consider laying a charge of a breach of that Rule.
"The DRD having determined to lay such a charge, and the Authorised Representative of Racing Team (Aust) Pty Ltd having explained that he required an opportunity gather and present evidence in defence of that charge and the DRD having sought an opportunity to secure further evidence, the Stewards closed the Inquiry at 2210hrs.
"The charge will be heard by a panel of Stewards prior to the commencement of track activities at the forthcoming Gold Coast 600. In the circumstances, the Classifications for Race 25 remain Provisional.
"The Stewards reiterate that no findings have been made against Racing Team (Aust) Pty Ltd at this stage and the Driver of Car #12 is not accused of any breach of the Rules beyond the breach of Rule D10.2.2.3 for which a Pit Lane drive through Penalty was issued during the Race and was served."