Supercars bump-and-run under the microscope

Supercars bump-and-run under the microscope

The issue was thrust into the spotlight for a second time this year in Sydney last Saturday when Shane van Gisbergen was slapped with a five-second penalty that dropped him off the podium.

The infringement came after he had made light contact with Will Brown’s bumper on the final lap.

It was the second flashpoint of bump-and-run controversy for the year, Erebus having accused van Gisbergen of similar tactics in Perth.

In that case a post-race protest lodged by Erebus was unsuccessful.

Van Gisbergen stopped short of publicly attacking race control in Sydney, but made his position clear.

“I feel a bit like Newcastle, not wanting to say anything,” he said, a reference to the infamous silent protest.

“If they showed what went on the five laps before, the racing and what people got away with… it was awesome, but a lot more than what that last corner was. I don’t really know.”

Heimgartner came to the defence of his fellow Kiwi, explaining that the visibility of late changes of position near the pointy end of the field often contributes to penalties.

“It’s all in context and it depends what standards you’re setting and what else has been going on in the battle and so many different things,” he said.

“And you don’t see all the racing that goes on throughout the field. Quite often you end up… you know, Chaz [Mostert] moves people out of the way a lot as well. A lot of drivers do it. It’s not just one person.

“It’s just that the cameras are on that. Sometimes you screw people over, sometimes you get screwed over.”

Anton De Pasquale agreed that context is critical.

“It depends if you’re the guy to get pushed or the guy pushing,” he said. “It depends what position you’re in. Generally that determines how you feel afterwards.

“But it’s all in context. If that’s what’s going on the whole race, then that’s what’s going on to the chequered flag. That’s fine. But if it’s an isolated incident…”

Erebus boss Barry Ryan was incensed by van Gisbergen’s actions at the time, to the point where he unleashed an expletive-laden outburst on the live TV audience – which cost him $2500.

He later explained to that side-to-side contact is good, but the front-to-rear is unacceptable.

“It’s just bump-and-run,” he said. “You can’t do that in any sport. NASCAR will let you get away with anything, but a bump-and-run.

“It’s funny, I was watching a special on the NASCAR website last night and it was all about the bump-and-run, and all the drivers were like, ‘that’s the one thing we don’t accept’.

“It’s just not acceptable because it’s like cheating. If you bump someone out you go past them. It’s the easy way to do it. All the side-by-side battles like Will had with Cam [Waters] and [Chaz] Mostert, that’s what we want to see.

Shane is the master of passing people without the bump-and-run. I don’t think he’d had a penalty for five years. He was never going to get away with it. We just wanted to make sure he wasn’t going to get away with it.

“And that’s why I was so pissed off. I naturally thought Shane gets away with everything.”

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