“I broke the policy”: Penske drivers react to intra-team tangle
DJR Team Penske drivers Fabian Coulthard and Scott McLaughlin have reacted to their first-lap tangle at Winton today.
The pair clashed on the way into Turn 5 as they squabbled over second place, Coulthard getting into the back of McLaughlin before both Mustangs ended up off the road.
Coulthard rejoined at the back of the field on the exit of Turn 5, while McLaughlin took a controversial shortcut across to Turn 8, slotted straight back into third, and went on to win the race.
Coulthard was penalised 15s for the contact.
While there was some heated in-race reaction from Coulthard, who suggested driving standards advisor Craig Baird should look at McLaughlin's rejoin over the radio, he later admitted fault for the incident.
"We operate with tenths of seconds," he said. "You make a decision at that particular time and what it is, it is, and if you can hit rewind you would.
"You never want to hit your teammate, it's as simple as that and I'll apologise, put my hand up, obviously I've been penalised for it.
"We know our policy is to not hit each other and unfortunately today I broke the policy."
McLaughlin said he expected some contact but didn't think it would be enough to send him off the road.
"It was probably something I didn’t quite expect in some ways," he said. "I was prepared in some ways to cop a little bit of a bump, but I thought it was my corner so I just sort of turned in.
"Once I got hit I was just gone. Once you’ve got that much momentum going on, it was full-on.
"It’s a bad situation for the team, but we’ll sort it out. We’re grown men, there’s no hard feelings by anyone."
Team boss Ryan Story added that he didn't anticipate any ongoing dramas between his drivers.
"It's already sorted, we had it sorted before the podium," he said during a post-race social media live broadcast.
"Our guys are good. They race hard together, today just didn't go the way it usually does, or certainly to any sort of plan we had pre-race, I can assure you of that.
"Those sorts of things shouldn't happen, it's really as simple as that. Unfortunately Fabs paid the price there. It's a bit unfair, 15 seconds, I thought, was pretty tough for that. That's just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.
"We're happy to come away with a win, we've still got first and second in the championship. When your bad days are as good as this one, you take them and you bank them.
"[Fabian is] hurting, as you'd expect. He had a very fast car today. He'll turn it around, he'll qualify well tomorrow, have another good race ahead of him.
"It's really important, team camaraderie and the culture we have in this organisation. Our drivers don't hit each other. It's just not what happens.
"This is an exception to the norm, we just need to deal with it and get on with it. Eyes forward."
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