Red Bull Racing Protest Bathurst 1000 Finish

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In the wake of the Bathurst 1000 race, run last Sunday in Australia, a Red Bull Racing protest is due to be set down. Will Davidson and Jonathon Webb were declared winners on the afternoon. The action packed final hour has forever broken the mold for ‘epic endings to a motor race’ ever.

Red Bull Racing Protest Bathurst 1000 Finish

This protest comes in the wake of an incident in the final hour that altered the outcome of the Great Race. Lap 150 will be replayed again, and again, due to a ferocious challenge made by Red Bull’s Jamie Whincup on Scott Mclaughlin. The Volvo of Mclaughlin was leading the race at the time. With only a dozen laps to go, ‘all hell broke loose’.

Challenge for lead ends with 15 second penalty

After the melee, the race controller issued a 15 second time penalty on Red Bull Racing. This ultimately meant the difference between first and eleventh place [time adjusted]. Red Bull understood from driver meetings, that any penalties would be a loss of points, not a time penalty. This is the basis of the protest.

The race stewards report states “A penalty was issued for car #88 driven by Whincup. He was deemed to be at fault, where the Volvo was forced off the track and even though it appears Whincup tries to readdress the incident; to allow the other car to retake a position, the following car of Garth Tander was held-up and he collided with Mclaughlin.”

Sad end to Bathurst for Volvo and Ford

Both Tander and Mclaughlin suffered irreparable damage to their cars due to the resulting tract re-etry. Whincup, however, drives on to cross the line first. In a sorry sequence of events, the incident brought out another safety car. DJR Penske Racing attempted to maximize from this through a ‘splash and dash’ final pit stop, as fuel pressures applied to most .

It put their driver Fabian Coulthard into sixth place, chasing the Holdens of Whincup [penalized], Davidson, Van Ginsberg and Nick Percat. The chasing trio of Ford’s of Cameron Waters and Scott Pye could not lift the car-maker onto the podium. Teckno Motorsports and Will Davidson/Jonathon Wedd stood tall as the ‘King of the Mountain’.

Once the dust had settled, public celebrations ended and the initial judgements were made by the media. Red Bull Racing Australia lodged their protest with the Confederation of Australian Motorsport (CAMS) .

Notice of Intention to Appeal

After the Race, the Stewards received a Notice of Intention to Appeal and the appropriate appeal fee payment from Triple Eight Race Engineering Pty Ltd. This was in relation to the 15 second time penalty imposed during the Race on Car #88, Jamie Whincup/Paul Dumbrell.

This now forces the hand of the CAMS organization to hold an appeal meeting. Under the Rules, the Appeal will be heard in Melbourne, Victoria and will ordinarily be within nine (9) days of the Event. All relevant parties are to attend in person. The hearing is conducted with as little formality and legal technicality as proper consideration of the matter permits.

The outcome of this appeal may be wide-ranging. It may have several implications:

  1. The race result is upheld.
  2. Any penalties are overturned, and the final standings are corrected.
  3. Alternate penalties are handed down–a championship points penalty imposed, and this is the risk that Red Bull run.

Whatever the outcome, it will impact directly on the Virgin V8 Supercars Championship standings. After Sunday, Davidson overtook Van Ginsberg to lead the series. However, any correction from the appeal date (to be confirmed) will change the table, and possibly the Bathurst 2016 winner.

Red Bull risk public opinion backlash

One area where Red Bull may both ‘win and lose’ would be if the penalty is corrected. If the time imposed penalty is changed to a Championship points-penalty, it will change the race result and promote Whincup back onto the podium. Therefore, there remains the possibility of a negative public reaction.

NOTE: In 1987, the Texaco Sierra cars were subsequently deemed to have broken fuel regulations. Therefore, favourite Peter Brock was elevated to the winners podium. That ‘technical victory’ is seen by fans as the weakest of Brock’s nine victories, and some still argue a claytons win.

Red Bull Racing protest risks this same public reaction, in an attempt to clear their driver towards a on-the-track redemption. Whincup, criticized on the day for his aggressive actions, might not be a popular winner. Would CAMS want that negative reaction?

A tough decision is still to be made. Last Word On Motorsports will watch with interest. Watch for a report on the final decision once it is made.

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