Jamie Whincup has been stripped of his second-place finish at the opening race of the Phillip Island 500 Supercars round after being hit with a post-race penalty.
The Red Bull Holden Racing driver finished just 0.8 seconds behind race-winner Scott McLaughlin, being passed late in the 57-lap race by the DJR Team Penske driver after an exciting race-long scrap for the lead.
The defending series champion, however, was later found to have released his pit lane speed limiter too early as he exited the pits. The race stewards hit him with the equivalent of a drive-through penalty, adding 38 seconds to his race finish time which demoted him to a fourteenth-placed finish.
There is no suggestion in the stewards’ report that Whincup was actually speeding in the pit lane, however Supercars Championship rules stipulate that the pit lane speed limited must be active at all times when a car is in the pit lane.
Whincup’s penalty promotes Nissan Motorsport’s Rick Kelly to second place, with Whincup’s teammate Shane van Gisbergen completing to the podium.
The penalty is even more damaging to Whincup’s position in the Drivers’ Championship standings. Finishing second to McLaughlin saw Whincup trail the New Zealander in the title race by just 1 point, but his demotion to fourteenth means he slips to fourth on the points table, a full 76 points behind.
In other news the stewards also handed a 15-second post race time penalty to Nissan Motorsport driver Simona de Silvestro. The Swiss driver was hit with a careless driving penalty for punting Jack Le Brocq’s TEKNO Holden into a spin at MG Hairpin on Lap 4.
Ironically she herself would be the victim of a similar divebomb by Garry Rogers Motorsport driver James Golding a few laps later which tipped her into a spin. She crossed the finish line in 23rd place, with the post-race penalty demoting her to 24th.
|2018 Australian Supercars Phillip Island 500 – Race 9 Final Classification (57 laps)|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Result|
|1.||Scott McLaughlin||Shell V-Power Racing Team||1:30:50.568|
|2.||Rick Kelly||Castrol Racing||+ 2.404|
|3.||Shane van Gisbergen||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||+ 9.084|
|4.||Craig Lowndes||Autobarn Lowndes Racing||+ 12.283|
|5.||Chaz Mostert||Supercheap Auto Racing||+ 13.557|
|6.||David Reynolds||Erebus Penrite Racing||+ 18.333|
|7.||Anton de Pasquale||Erebus Thermosphere Racing||+ 18.854|
|8.||Will Davison||Milwaukee Racing||+ 31.539|
|9.||Scott Pye||Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||+ 32.344|
|10.||Tim Slade||Freightliner Racing||+ 32.492|
|11.||Garth Tander||Wilson Security Racing GRM||+ 33.602|
|12.||Fabian Coulthard||Shell V-Power Racing Team||+ 33.946|
|13.||Mark Winterbottom||The Bottle-O Racing Team||+ 34.454|
|14.||Jamie Whincup||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||+ 38.896|
|15.||Andre Heimgartner||Plus Fitness Racing||+ 39.800|
|16.||Cameron Waters||Monster Energy Racing||+ 44.929|
|17.||James Courtney||Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing||+ 45.403|
|18.||Michael Caruso||Drive Racing||+ 45.855|
|19.||Richie Stanaway||MEGA Racing||+ 53.351|
|20.||Jack Le Brocq||TEKNO Autosport||+ 54.894|
|21.||Tim Blanchard||Team CoolDrive||+1:12.600|
|22.||Lee Holdsworth||Preston Hire Racing||+ 1:13.471|
|23.||Todd Hazelwood||Bigmate Racing||+ 1:28.866|
|24.||Simona de Silvestro||Team Harvey Norman||+ 1:39.181|
|25.||James Golding||Wilson Security Racing GRM||+ 7 laps|
|26.||Nick Percat||Coregas Racing||+ 12 laps|
Image via Red Bull Holden Racing Team