Triple Eight team manager Mark Dutton has called for Supercars officials to investigate its Safety Car procedure off the back of Sunday’s chaotic race at Pukekohe.
T8 driver Jamie Whincup played a key role in the chaos, illegally passing the Safety Car after deducing that he’d wrongly been identified as the actual race leader, rather than the effective leader.
He was slapped with a drive-through once the race was restarted.
While Whincup maintains he made the right call given the circumstances, Supercars officials say his actions made it impossible for the field to be corrected, which left the likes of Lee Holdsworth, Fabian Coulthard and Cam Waters mired in the midfield.
According to Dutton, the Confederation of Australian Motorsport, which is engaged by Supercars to official events, needs to investigate the incident.
“Will there be an investigation? Will there be an investigation to say how were the lights on, because I think that’s still correct, that the [orange] lights had been on,” Dutton said.
“But they shouldn’t have been.
“In every other level, or this level of professional sport, there should be an investigation into how it happened and changes implemented or systems to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
“We’ll worry about our side, we’ve got experience, so we’ll see how we can improve our processes. But as a category it’s happened more times that way than times we’ve stuffed up [as a team].
“So we’ll look at ourselves internally, but I do hope something gets done because it wasn’t just us who got hurt in that race-wise. There was a lot of cars that finished much, much worse than they should have because of that.
“So it’s a big deal and needs to be treated accordingly.”
Dutton wouldn’t confirm if Whincup had been given a direct order to pass the Safety Car, instead highlighting that there would be no finger-pointing in the seven-time champ’s direction.
“We’ll analyse all that and see what we did wrong,” he said. “Apart from the outcome of passing the car with the lights on – that’s the easy part, yes we did that wrong.
“But what led us to make that mistake? It’s not just pointing the finger at Jamie, we’re all in it together.”
When asked about Dutton’s comments by Motorsport.com, Supercars deputy race director David Stuart said that a post-race debrief is a standard part of race control procedure.
“In response to the comments that you mentioned from Mark Dutton, like any race team, we’ll go back, we’ll replay the race through the timing system,” he said.
“I’ve already looked at it immediately after the race, I went to the timing room and I replayed up until Lap 14-15 through the timing system.
“I’ve got a pretty good understanding of where everybody was and what the situation was, but as I said, like any race team, we’ll go back, we’ll review and debrief with what we had and we’ll understand what the situation is.
“By car #88 going past the Safety Car it took away any opportunity we had to do that in-race.”
Race director Tim Schenken added: “I think it’s fair to say that we have a debrief after every race because we’re making no small decisions — we need to fix this, we could do this better, learn from that…
“So we debrief after every race with Supercars — it’s a joint debrief — to address any issues, and there are points after every race meeting.”
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