Rival team boss labels DJRTP Bathurst tactics "blatant cheating"
DJR Team Penske 'blatant cheated' when it told Fabian Coulthard to slow down behind the Safety Car at Bathurst, according to a rival team boss.
The Shell Ford squad has been charged with a team orders breach for the instruction, which saw Coulthard hold up the field as eventual race winner Scott McLaughlin and Jamie Whincup dived into pitlane.
A hearing before next week's Gold Coast 600 will determine DJRTP's fate, with a monetary fine and/or teams' points deduction considered the most likely outcomes.
Explained as a precaution for an overheating engine and communicated to Coulthard as a go-slow for debris on the circuit, the instruction has created a storm of controversy around the Great Race result.
In this week's episode of the Below the Bonnet podcast, due to be released tomorrow morning, Erebus Motorsport boss Barry Ryan goes as far as labelling the tactic as cheating.
"Essentially that team blatantly cheated, I guess, and fixed the race, from that point," said Ryan.
"There's no other way to look at it. it's pretty clear from the vision, the radio, the body language of the people they interviewed within the team that they did it on purpose. Unfortunately us and some other teams, they've taken us out of the race essentially, and didn't give us an opportunity to use our strategy.
"It's pretty damaging [to the sport]. Unfortunately there is so much public damage going on around it anyway, we just don't need another thing like this that damages our integrity and the way our sport is perceived.
"It is blatant cheating, and I don't like calling anybody a cheat but they did. They had to do that to ensure that car #17 had the chance to stay as [one of] the front two cars."
Erebus driver David Reynolds, Triple Eight's Shane van Gisbergen and Walkinshaw Andretti United's James Courtney were among the front-runners that had pitted during the Lap 123 Safety Car.
According to Ryan, that would have been enough of a fuel advantage at that Lap 134 caution for some of those cars to jump McLaughlin and Whincup at that stage of the race had they not been held up.
And from there, he reckons anything could have happened.
"I'm sure if we'd put Dave in the lead, with whatever laps to go, he would have had a very wide Commodore," added Ryan.
"The pace we had wasn't the best pace out there, but it was as good as probably third to fifth. And who knows, you can step things up when you've got no one in front of you..."
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