Bathurst 1000: Fabian Coulthard’s ‘disgraceful’ act under investigation

Roger Penske in team principals’ press conference

Roger Penske in team principals’ press conference

It marked the first Bathurst win by McLaughlin's DJR team since 1994.

But McLaughlin's maiden Bathurst victory could be ripped from his grasp after officials slapped a team orders rule breach charge against DJR/Team Penske.

The incident relates to the controversial safety vehicle incident involving McLaughlin's Kiwi team-mate Fabian Coulthard during the race.

Officials originally hit Coulthard with a drive-through penalty during the race for breach of safety auto procedures which saw him bunch and hold up the field as McLaughlin pitted for fuel for the final laps.

Coulthard's snail's pace under the yellow flag - in which drivers are not allowed to overtake - extended the gap between a hard charging Shane van Gisbergen and the leading duo from one to 47 seconds.

"It is just part of a plan and I think together with Tim Cindric and the rest of the team we just have to decide what is the best path that he (McLaughlin) is able to join and move forward in his career", he said. "It certainly wasn't intentional from our point of view, Fabian was just doing something he needed to do, but I just pushed on. You will see him in America I am sure in the near future". Supercars legend Larry Perkins texted Neil Crompton during the race to say Coulthard's sportsmanship was "disgraceful".

The American spoke about when he first watched McLaughlin racing in the Volvo Supercar and what he has done for the team since joining in 2017.

"I just got told they didn't know where the incident was and to take extreme caution", Coulthard said.

"I'm probably more pissed off with how I'm getting smashed on social media by various people", Coulthard said to TouringCarTimes. "I did what I was told and I'm getting murdered for it".

However any possible sanction is highly likely to be limited to a fine or a teams' points penalty, meaning McLaughlin's victory isn't under threat.

"The charge will be heard by a panel of stewards prior to the commencement of track activities at the forthcoming Gold Coast 600".

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"Rule D24.1 prohibits team orders and provides that an instruction to a driver or team member, either verbal or otherwise the effect of which may interfere with a race result is a team order".

"Following the race the stewards summonsed the authorised representative of Racing Team (Aust) Pty Ltd, the Driver of vehicle #12 and auto #12's engineer to a Hearing and requested that the DRD obtain a recording of the radio communications between vehicle #12 and vehicle #12's engineer during the SC deployment".

Coulthard had been given a drive-through penalty for driving excessively slowly during a safety auto period at a critical time in Sunday's race, holding up the pack behind.

When asked about how he felt having to stack behind McLaughlin all day, Coulthard said it was something which the whole field has to deal with. The man who finished second, van Gisbergen, was the man most held up by Coulthard's stacking of the grid.

To add to the drama he had Shane van Gisbergen right under his rear wing, and was also battling lower-than-ideal tyre pressures.

"Fabian should get a penalty for that, going stupidly slow".

McLaughlin went on to hold out a fast finishing van Gisbergen by 0.68 seconds to claim his first Bathurst crown.

Asked what was his next challenge, McLaughlin said: "Who knows but I still have things I want to achieve here, I want to keep winning".

McLaughlin eventually went on to claim the mountain, but queries into whether Coulthard acted on team orders, by examining radio communications between the garage and vehicle No.12 have caused a stir.

"We can look at it and talk about it but it is secondary as far I am concerned when you think about it".

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