Wayne Gardner Questioned by Police in Japan

Australian motorcycling legend Wayne Gardner has been questioned by police in Motegi after an alleged road rage incident.

Gardner, who was crowned 500cc champion in 1987, is reported to have been involved in an incident with a Japanese businessman inside the Twin Ring Motegi circuit on Sunday morning, which involved the Tokyo resident’s car and Gardner’s bike.

A physical altercation followed, with some claims that Gardner grabbed the other man in a violent manner, although Gardner has since claimed he was just trying to get free of the other man’s grip.

Local police became involved, with Gardner arrested and taken to the Motegi Police Station for questioning.

Gardner was in Japan to watch 18-year-old son Remy compete in the Moto2 class. He finished 19th in a race won by Thomas Luthi.

Davison and Webb win Bathurst thriller but 888 Protest

Will Davison and Jonathan Webb have won the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 in a thrilling climax at Mount Panorama.

Davison held off Shane Van Gisbergen in the final laps of the race to win 0.1434 seconds in one of the closest ever finishes.

Co-driver and team owner Jonathon Webb couldn’t watch in the last laps, as his former driver attacked his current driver in an intense finish to the year’s biggest race.

The race ran without a safety car for 92 laps – but the second half exploded, with huge smashes, passes and penalties handed down in the final stages of the race.

Jamie Whincup and Garth Tander looked set to battle to the end, but an incident with Scott McLaughlin ended it for all three, with Tander in the wall, McLaughlin in the sand and Whincup handed a 15-second penalty for his part.

It was the third year in a row Whincup has blown his chances of victory, with the six-time Supercars Champion eventually finishing 11th.

Davison was told to conserve fuel in the closing laps with van Gisbergen pushing, his STIX Darrell Lea Commodore coughed at the final corner, but made it home.

He hadn’t led a lap all day.

“I’m honestly speechless, I’m not going to give much here because that was so stressful,” Davison said after clinching his second title.

“It coughed at the last corner I ran out of fuel as I crossed the line. Started 17th, I knew we were quick. Jonathon Webb had a good feeling this week.”

Webb won his second race at Mount Panorama this year, having taken the 12 Hour with Shane van Gisbergen and Alvaro Parente earlier in 2016.

“Unbelievable – we were so close in 14,” Webb said. “I was out the back just playing with my kid trying to ignore what was going on – it’s unbelievable, it’s just amazing.”

Behind van Gisbergen, paired with Alex Premat, was Nick Percat in third taking small team Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport to its second ever podium with Cameron McConville.

Cameron Waters/Jack Le Brocq and Scott Pye/Tony D’Alberto completed the top five in the incredible race.

A late crash by Rick Kelly triggered a safety car that closed up the field, and Todd Kelly flying off at The Chase meant van Gisbergen couldn’t use that spot to pass.

As for Whincup – he went to apologise to his competitors, but felt the pass was on.

“I don’t know what to say, I just went out there and raced hard. I feel sorry for the result, just going up to Volvo and HRT, I go and apologise for the result, I felt the move was on … we had contact and I was happy to redress but two cars weren’t there to readdress,” he said.

“We tried hard like we always do … I enjoyed the pace of 88 this weekend and we’ll come back [for the Gold Coast] in a couple of weeks’ time.”

The Harvey Norman Supergirls Simona De Silvestro and Renee Gracie finished a highly credible 14th.

Red Bull team owner Roland Dane has confirmed that his squad has protested the 15 second post-race time penalty handed to its #88 Jamie Whincup/Paul Dumbrell Holden.

Whincup, who went on to take the chequered flag first on the road, was awarded the penalty following contact with Scott McLaughlin on lap 150 of 161.

The six-time Supercars champion had bumped McLaughlin wide at The Chase as he tried to take second on the road from the Volvo.

Whincup then slowed to redress the incident, but subsequent contact between Garth Tander and McLaughlin put the latter two cars into the wall, preventing the Red Bull driver from handing the place back.

The #88 Holden was penalised for its initial contact with McLaughlin, who is in turn being investigated for his re-entry to the circuit.

“We have protested the penalty because it is not consistent with what we’ve been told as to the way the rules are applied this year,” said Dane.

“Even if Jamie was at fault, the penalty according to the drivers’ briefings this year is clear; either you redress or if you can’t then it’s a 10 point penalty.

“Either of those penalties could have been applied. That is why we have protested.”

Position / Driver / Team    

1. Will Davison › Jonathon Webb › Team Darrell Lea STIX  Commodore VF 161     6:19:25.3237    
2. Shane van Gisbergen › Alexandre Prémat › Red Bull Racing Australia Holden Commodore VF 161     6:19:25.4671
3. Nick Percat › Cameron McConville › Clipsal 500 Adelaide Racing  Holden Commodore VF 161 6:19:28.1791

McLaughlin penalised for re-enter

Scott McLaughlin has been slapped with a 25-point penalty for his rejoin after an incident with Jamie Whincup that affected the outcome of the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

McLaughlin was on a different fuel strategy to Whincup and Garth Tander, but it was important for Whincup to get past the Volvo in case any late incidents meant it could get through to the end of the race on fuel.

Whincup dived on the Volvo at the last corner and tipped McLaughlin off the circuit. As Whincup waited to redress Tander got tangled in the incident, sustaining damage that meant he couldn’t finish the race.

McLaughlin ended 15th and was devastated with the result.

“I’m gutted,” he said.

“I’m more gutted for Garry than myself, I wanted to win it for Garry more than anyone and the team. It’s disappointing … a pretty bad day.”

While the Stewards Summary has not been released officially, McLaughlin confirmed he was punished for his re-enter, which contributed to the crash.

“I’ve just been given a 25-point penalty for my re-enter,” he said.

His take on the incident?

“It was pretty obvious. I blocked and did what I felt was legal. All I had to do was keep him behind me and I was trying to be aggressive with that as well.

“I knew Jamie was fast, he threw it down the inside, which he is well entitled to do, he said to me the move was on but it was on until we lost control so it’s racing in some ways, but just disappointed.”

The Red Bull driver did speak to McLaughlin post-race but did not go down to the Holden Racing Team garage.

“I was pretty angry when he spoke to me so I didn’t really speak back but he did come see me and said sorry, and the move was on.

“It’s all well and good that he thinks the move was on but a move’s on when you’re not locked up and actually make the pass and go side by side, as he knows.”

The two drivers have often raced closely on-track and McLaughlin spoke respectfully about his competitor.

“I’ve had some great battles with Jamie over the years and I don’t think that’s going to change. I’ve got a ton of respect for the guy, just unfortunately these things happen.”

McLaughlin wasn’t sure of the damage to his car, but it was able to finish the race.

“I don’t know, I’ve hardly seen it, I got out of the car and just left. It was pretty banged up and bruised.”

Bathurst 1000 Starting Positions

Position / Driver / Team    
1
Jamie Whincup  Paul Dumbrell Red Bull Racing Australia Holden Commodore VF
   
2
Scott McLaughlin  David Wall Wilson Security Racing GRM Volvo S60
   
3
Chaz Mostert  Steve Owen Supercheap Auto Racing Ford Falcon FG/X
   
4
Fabian Coulthard  Luke Youlden DJR Team Penske Ford Falcon FG/X
   
5
Tim Slade  Ash Walsh Freightliner Racing Holden Commodore VF
   
6
Michael Caruso  Dean Fiore Nissan Motorsport Nissan Altima
   
7
Shane van Gisbergen  Alexandre Prémat Red Bull Racing Australia Holden Commodore VF
   
8
Garth Tander  Warren Luff Holden Racing Team Holden Commodore VF
   
9
Scott Pye  Tony D'Alberto DJR Team Penske Ford Falcon FG/X
   
10
Mark Winterbottom  Dean Canto The Bottle-O Racing Team Ford Falcon FG/X
   
11
Jason Bright  Andrew Jones Team BOC Holden Commodore VF
   
12
Chris Pither  Richie Stanaway Super Black Racing Ford Falcon FG/X
   
13
Cameron Waters  Jack Le Brocq Monster Energy Racing Ford Falcon FG/X
   
14
David Reynolds  Craig Baird Erebus Motorsport Penrite Holden Commodore VF
   
15
Lee Holdsworth  Karl Reindler Preston Hire Racing Holden Commodore VF
   
16
James Courtney  Jack Perkins Holden Racing Team Holden Commodore VF
   
17
Will Davison  Jonathon Webb Team Darrell Lea STIX Holden Commodore VF
   
18
Dale Wood  David Russell GB Galvanizing Racing Nissan Altima
   
19
Todd Kelly  Matthew Campbell Carsales Racing Nissan Altima
   
20
Rick Kelly  Russell Ingall Sengled Racing Nissan Altima
   
21
Craig Lowndes  Steven Richards TeamVortex Holden Commodore VF
   
22
Nick Percat  Cameron McConville Clipsal 500 Adelaide Racing Holden Commodore VF
   
James Moffat  James Golding Wilson Security Racing GRM Volvo S60
   
24
Tim Blanchard  Macauley Jones Team Cooldrive Holden Commodore VF
   
25
Andre Heimgartner  Aaren Russell Plus Fitness Racing Holden Commodore VF
   
26
Simona de Silvestro  Renee Gracie Harvey Norman Supergirls Nissan Altima
   
27
Chris Van Der Drift  Shae Davies Erebus Motorsport Holden Commodore VF

Triple Eight Officially Lodge Protest

Triple Eight has lodged a protest against a 15-second time penalty against Jamie Whincup in the closing stages of the 2016 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

The Red Bull Holden Commodore VF driver crossed the line first but was racing under the penalty after a clash with Volvo’s Scott McLaughlin while attempting to pass him late in the race at The Chase as they battled for second place.

Whincup and co-driver Paul Dumbrell were demoted from first to 11th place in the race because of the penalty, which meant Tekno Autosports were awarded the win.

The appeal against the penalty along with a $10,000 fee has been submitted by Red Bull Racing Australia Team Manager Mark Dutton to the CAMS Stewards of the meeting.

A spokesman for Supercars said: “Supercars can confirm an appeal has been lodged by Triple Eight Race Engineering Car 88. Under the operations manual all teams have the ability to appeal a particular decision. Once the appeal is formally lodged and evidence is submitted, the appeal is heard by the Supercars court of appeal which is appointed independently and the procedures run by CAMS. A date has yet to be set to hear the appeal. The results of today’s race are final but subject to the appeal.”

The crux of Triple Eight’s appeal centres on an argument that levying the time penalty is inconsistent with the system of punishment that has been explained to teams this year, which includes three levels of offence and the ability to redress an error by handing back the position taken in the passing move.

Whincup did slow and attempt to redress with McLaughlin immediately, but Holden Racing Team’s Garth Tander made contact from the rear as he attempted to pass and then ricocheted into McLaughlin who was re-joining from the grass.

Tander was eliminated on the spot, McLaughlin’s car was damaged but continued out of contention while Whincup raced on.

“We have protested the 15 seconds because the penalty they gave is completely inconsistent with what we have been given as the way the rules will be enforced this year,” Triple Eight owner Roland Dane told supercars.com.

“It is questionable whether Jamie was guilty of any crime when you actually look at the incident with McLaughlin. The stewards have confirmed that the 15 seconds penalty is nothing to do with the aftermath. That wasn’t Jamie’s fault. It was only to do with the incident with McLaughlin.”

Supergirls on-track

The Harvey Norman Supergirls are continuing to adapt to the Nissan Altima Supercar after their first run at Mount Panorama today.

The pair faces a daunting task lining up against the regular drivers in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship at the toughest track on the calendar, but both Simona De Silvestro and Renee Gracie were pleased with their progress throughout day one.

They sat at the back of the field during practice, with De Silvestro 3.8 seconds off fastest driver Jamie Whincup, while Gracie 4.5sec behind Whincup’s co-driver Paul Dumbrell.

It’s all about improving across the weekend – though De Silvestro admitted next year’s move to race full-time has added pressure to perform at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

“It’s great to be back, you know I really enjoyed driving here last year … this year there is a bit more pressure because I really need to get my head around and understanding how to drive these cars,” De Silvestro said.

“I’ve really enjoyed it so far; the team has done an incredible job, just feeling pretty comfortable in the car right away, but now I have to really start looking at the smaller things to go fast.

“So far I’m going okay and it’s just a great event to be a part of. I’m looking forward to the weekend.”

The ladies switch to a Nissan Altima in 2016 after racing a Prodrive Ford Falcon FG X last year.

While both drivers described the car as very different, returning to the event means it’s not all new for De Silvestro.

“I think that helps quite a bit because last year I came here and hadn’t even done one lap around here,” De Silvestro said. 

“Just knowing how the track is, I could prepare a little bit better I raced here last year.

“For sure the car is a little bit different to drive, I’m happy that it is quicker but there is still a huge gap to the fast ones, so sometimes that’s a bit frustrating as a driver.

“But I want to get better so every time I get in the car that is the focus, so I’m really starting to pick those things to get quicker at.”

Gracie spent an hour and a half behind the wheel and is sitting out of the Dunlop Series this weekend.

“It has been a bit of a challenge adjusting to a new car on the track,” Gracie said.

“I’ve quickly realised how hard it is to drive three different cars in two years at this Mountain, it’s pretty challenging.

“The first session was definitely about getting comfortable, which I was lacking first up.

“Simona did well in her first session, and she felt good at the end, and then in the final session we split the driving.

“Simona went out on green tyres at the end there, I didn’t, but she went quite quick, which is good.

“So I’m pretty confident, I think Simona is pretty confident in the car too, and we’re moving in the same direction with car setup. I think tomorrow will be a good day.”