While both celebrated victory during last weekend’s season-opening Clipsal 500 races, James Courtney and Jamie Whincup were both slapped with 25-point penalties after being found guilty of careless driving in Races 2 and 3 respectively.
Having claimed victory and a third place in Saturday’s two races, Whincup looked set to win Sunday’s 250-kilometre feature race until he was hit with a pit lane drive-through penalty after his car controller had touched the car during his final pit stop.
The breach broke the rule governing the number of team personnel who can service a car during a pit stop, and – despite vocal protests from the Red Bull Racing team – he was hauled into the pit lane for a drive-through penalty, dropping him well down the order.
While trying to recover lost ground, Whincup collided with Michael Caruso’s Nissan at the Turn 9 hairpin, which resulted in race-ending suspension damage for both. That later led to a visit to the stewards’ office, where newly-appointed Driving Standards Observer Jason Bargwanna decided that a 25-point deduction to Whincup’s championship tally was appropriate.
Courtney was the beneficiary from Whincup’s penalty and ultimately went on to win Race 3, but he was also deducted 25 points from his championship tally following an incident in Saturday’s second race.
But his attempts to squeeze between the pair resulted in rather predictable contact for both, with Courtney coming off worse after his passenger door was ripped off his HRT Holden.
Courtney’s Walkinshaw Racing stablemate Nick Percat was also hit with a 25-point penalty for colliding with Michael Caruso in Race 1.
The points deductions for both Whincup and Courtney saw them drop positions in the current Drivers’ Championship standings, with Courtney dropping from fourth to fifth overall, while Whincup dropped two spots and now lies seventh.
Whincup’s teammate Craig Lowndes – who claimed one win and two second-placed finishes over the weekend – leads the Drivers’ Championship standings on 282 points, 52 points clear of Brad Jones Racing’s Fabian Coulthard.
The current (adjusted) championship standings are as follows:
|Driver||Team / Entry||Points|
|1.||Craig Lowndes||Triple Eight Holden||282|
|2.||Fabian Coulthard||Brad Jones Racing Holden||230|
|3.||Shane van Gisbergen||Tekno Autosports Holden||221|
|4.||Rick Kelly||Nissan Motorsport||198|
|5.||James Courtney||TWR Holden||192|
|6.||Mark Winterbottom||Ford Performance Racing||189|
|7.||Jamie Whincup||Triple Eight Holden||174|
|8.||Tim Slade||TWR Holden||163|
|9.||Garth Tander||TWR Holden||150|
|10.||James Moffat||Nissan Motorsport||140|
|11.||Michael Caruso||Nissan Motorsport||133|
|12.||Russell Ingall||Lucas Dumbrell Holden||121|
|13.||David Wall||Dick Johnson Racing Ford||121|
|14.||David Reynolds||Ford Performance Racing||120|
|15.||Scott McLaughlin||Volvo Polestar Racing||117|
|16.||Jack Perkins||Ford Performance Racing||115|
|17.||Dale Wood||Brad Jones Racing Holden||112|
|18.||Lee Holdsworth||Erebus Motorsport AMG||111|
|19.||Will Davison||Erebus Motorsport AMG||72|
|20.||Todd Kelly||Nissan Motorsport||70|
|21.||Jason Bright||Brad Jones Racing Holden||66|
|22.||Scott Pye||Dick Johnson Racing Ford||61|
|23.||Chaz Mostert||Ford Performance Racing||51|
|24.||Robert Dahlgren||Volvo Polestar Racing||39|
|25.||Nick Percat||TWR Holden||24|
Images via Holden Racing Team and Red Bull Racing Australia