Lowndes, van Gisbergen make up after teammate tussle

Craig Lowndes says teammate Shane van Gisbergen apologised to him for the contact that sent the veteran off track in the closing stages of Sunday's Phillip Island race.

Lowndes, van Gisbergen make up after teammate tussle
Craig Lowndes, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering
Craig Lowndes, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Craig Lowndes, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Craig Lowndes, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden

The pair were squabbling over sixth place late in the race when the contact happened, with van Gisbergen on a charge with fresher rubber thanks to an alternate tyre strategy.

It started with a wobble from Lowndes through Turn 11, light contact from van Gisbergen then sending the #888 Holden off the track at high speed.

Van Gisbergen immediately let Lowndes back through to avoid a penalty, before making a clean pass for the position several corners later.

Speaking after the race, Lowndes said van Gisbergen had come straight over the clear the air.

"We knew Shane had better tyres – I think it was 10-lap better, fresher tyres – and we knew he was coming and closing the gap by about half-a-second a lap, so it was one of those things that was inevitable," said Lowndes.

"I had a bit of a slide coming out of MG, around Turn 11 and it was just right where he got some momentum. Normally you would be on-throttle then, but of course we couldn’t because of the tyre life.

"It was just one of those things that are unfortunate.

"We’ve had a chat, he apologised because he knew it was a mistake.

"But, as I said, normally you would be on-throttle at that point, but because my tyre life was completely different to his it was just an honest mistake."

Triple Eight team manager Mark Dutton confirmed that he sent van Gisbergen straight over to Lowndes' garage for a chat after the race, and said the issue would be discussed in greater detail during the debrief.

"I asked Shane as soon as he got out of the car, because I couldn't see if he initially hit him or hit him at all from the TV angles," said Dutton.

"I told him to go next door and have a chat about it. We're not going to avoid it or anything like that. It's never intentional, it's always close quarters racing.

"That's what we've done forever. Shane obviously got straight out of it to undo any damage that he did or contributed to it.

"[Craig's] always going to feel the worst about it because he's the one that's departed the track, even though he gathered it up fantastically and got back on. But he seemed to take it in his stride. He's been around long enough, he knows the game.

"There was no malice in it, it wasn't intentional. It was so close to the end of the race, they were racing for positions. We'll talk about it in the debrief. We talk about everything, it doesn't matter if it's not the most comfortable thing to talk about. That's our job."

The pair were inseparable across the Phillip Island weekend, even orchestrating a switch late in Saturday's race to give Lowndes a chance to chase down Rick Kelly in third place.

When he couldn't get it done, Lowndes let van Gisbergen – who was struggling with power steering issues – back through into fourth.

According to Dutton, that whole plan came from van Gisbergen, not the team itself.

"Shane knew he was doing it tough but if he tried hard enough he could match Lowndesy's pace," added Dutton.

"But he wasn't going to catch and pass Rick for a podium. So being a team player he got on the phone and said 'I'll make it easy for [Craig], I'll move over so he can go for a podium. If he doesn't, we need to swap them back'.

"That wasn't something that we instigated as a team, he did that. Craig was more than happy to accept it. It was just unfortunate he didn't catch Rick and pass him. Then he gave it back.

"That wasn't from us, we were just going to sit pretty and hold our breath while they diced."

shares
comments
Phillip Island Supercars: McLaughlin completes clean sweep

Previous article

Phillip Island Supercars: McLaughlin completes clean sweep

Next article

Triple Eight explains curious ZB Commodore pace deficit

Triple Eight explains curious ZB Commodore pace deficit
Load comments
How crisis talks over Supercars’ Gen3 future could leave it without a paddle Prime

How crisis talks over Supercars’ Gen3 future could leave it without a paddle

With Supercars’ Gen3 era on the horizon, a shift is set to take place – in more ways than one – but, as has become clear in recent weeks, the plan to bin the stick and use paddles with electronic assisted shift has been met with fierce opposition

Supercars
May 24, 2021
Can DJR still be a Supercars powerhouse after Penske? Prime

Can DJR still be a Supercars powerhouse after Penske?

Roger Penske's whirlwind Australian Supercars sojourn is over. After six seasons, three drivers' titles, three teams' championships and a Bathurst 1000 crown, The Captain has sold his controlling stake in Dick Johnson Racing back to the squad and walked away from the category.

Supercars
Feb 26, 2021
Can Whincup be Triple Eight's ruthless leader? Prime

Can Whincup be Triple Eight's ruthless leader?

Supercars' most successful team of the past 15 years is set for a radical shakeup next year when Jamie Whincup retires from driving and takes over the reins at Triple Eight. But does he have what it takes to be the new Roland Dane?

Supercars
Feb 8, 2021
How a lifetime Supercars deal broke down in one year Prime

How a lifetime Supercars deal broke down in one year

David Reynolds inked what was effectively a lifetime deal with Erebus in 2019 – only to walk out a year later. What went wrong?

Supercars
Dec 18, 2020
Why Supercars now needs a new "human salt harvester" Prime

Why Supercars now needs a new "human salt harvester"

Scott McLaughlin has been a controversial figure in Supercars over the past few years but, as he heads off to a fresh challenge in IndyCar, the Australian tin-top series needs to find someone else to fill his drama-filled boots as the category enters a new era...

Supercars
Nov 3, 2020
Why 2020 isn't McLaughlin's greatest title Prime

Why 2020 isn't McLaughlin's greatest title

Scott McLaughlin was quick to describe his third Supercars title as his best yet. But even though it didn't match the dramatic backstory of his 2018 triumph, there's a good reason for him wanting to control the narrative this time around.

Supercars
Oct 2, 2020
Why a Bathurst finale is risky business for Supercars Prime

Why a Bathurst finale is risky business for Supercars

The Bathurst Grand Final may provide Supercars its greatest spectacle yet – but there's a risk it will force the series to face a hard truth.

Supercars
Sep 4, 2020
Why Scott McLaughlin must become an IndyCar driver Prime

Why Scott McLaughlin must become an IndyCar driver

Scott McLaughlin, two-time and current Supercars champion, should have been making his NTT IndyCar Series debut for Team Penske at the GP of Indianapolis, but the Covid-19 pandemic forced a rescheduling that has put the brakes on his career switch. But David Malsher-Lopez explains why the New Zealander deserves this opportunity as soon as possible.

IndyCar
Jul 4, 2020