Supercars has now gained its fair share of critics after the decision to declare today’s opening Tasmania SuperSprint race after a lap two incident which took out nearly half the field was reversed post-race.
While Shane van Gisbergen was declared the winner shortly after the cars crossed the line, Supercars later issued a statement saying the race will actually be delared as “no race”.
On a greasy and damp track, the Fords of Scott McLaughlin and Chaz Mostert were on the front row of the grid, although it was the Prodrive racer who got the jump on the first lap, running wide at the start of the second.
Van Gisbergen assumed the lead coming down the back straight to the hairpin while behind him, all hell was about to break loose.
Cam Waters tangled with Garth Tander, the GRM driver running in to Rick Kelly down the straight at nearly 200km/h. The resulting chain reaction saw many cars enter the melee at nearly full speed, the worst-affected being Will Davison who hardly scrubbed off any speed before T-boning Kelly’s passenger side. The Tekno pilot was later taken to hospital.
Also involved in the crash and out of the race were Tander, Rick Kelly, Tim Slade, James Courtney, Scott Pye, Davison, Alex Rullo, Nick Percat, Tim Blanchard, James Moffat and Taz Douglas. Simona De Silvestro was also caught up in the mess, but sustained minor front-end damage. The red flags were shown shortly after the crash, with all remaining drivers being called to stop on the pit straight.
McLaughlin was mistakenly called in to the pits, his race engineer Ludo Lacroix having a major brain fade which has cost the New Zealander dearly for the second time this year. He “rejoined” the action in effectively last place out of the cars still running.
A 50-minute delay followed the red flag with the officials restarting the race under control of the Safety Car as a stricken car still lay on the back straight. The field completed one lap under the Safety Car when the race was declared with full points being awarded at the time, it having effectively run to its maximum time allocation.
Supercars now has a lot to answer for as they have fueled the fire of many fans who believe Triple Eight – which claimed a 1-2-3 finish – are given immunity in the category. While the officials did eventually renege on their decision, the call left a bad taste in the mouth of many fans.
There will be many sore heads within Supercars and CAMS overnight as both parties have to go in to damage control due to the backlash from fans. Tomorrow is another day, hopefully one where we can see a proper car race.
Image via Red Bull Content Pool