Penalties across all four days of the Melbourne 400
Melbourne’s Albert Park Circuit held its second points paying round in the Supercars Championship this weekend after supporting the Australian Grand Prix since its inclusion on the Formula One calendar in 1985.
However, more chances for points also means more chances for trouble with the four races claiming a few victims which not only hurt their points hauls but also their bank accounts.
The first penalties of the weekend were handed out to Walkinshaw Andretti United as a team and Rick Kelly from Kelly Racing after the round’s opening race.
For WAU, a fine of $3,000 and 30 teams’ championship points was handed down after a wheel from Scott Pye’s Commodore found its way in front of Nick Percat in the pit lane while the #2 car was being serviced.
Kelly was penalised by 43 seconds, the equivalent of a drive through penalty, for an unsafe release in his pitstop, ending up in the path of Garry Rogers Motorsport driver James Golding who made contact with the Kelly Racing Altima.
Golding’s team-mate Richie Stanaway was in the firing line of the stewards, earning himself penalties in both of the day’s races.
Race one saw the former GP2 race winner given a five-second penalty post-race for careless driving, clashing with Tickford Racing’s Lee Holdsworth.
The two found each other again in the later feature race, making contact between Turn 4 and 5 early in the race, leading Holdsworth to blow up at the young Kiwi and for Stanaway to be disqualified from the race.
To add salt to the wound, Stanaway was also fined $10,000 with half of that amount suspended until the end of the year, as well as being made to start the final race from the pit lane.
Triple Eight had a weekend to forget with last year’s championship runner-up Shane van Gisbergen, the 2016 series champion having an engine failure in the opening race followed by a wheel coming off his Commodore in the third race of the round.
The departure of his right rear wheel wasn’t taken kindly by the officials, hitting Triple Eight with a $5,000 fine after the race and docking 30 teams’ championship points from their haul so far.
Race six, the last of the weekend on Sunday, was again a hard outing for the Kelly Racing outfit with one penalty to the team and one to a driver for indiscretions through the 11 lap race.
A 50 point penalty was handed down to the team for failing to have a memory card in the judicial camera onboard Rick Kelly’s car, making it the biggest team penalty in terms of points for the weekend.
Swiss ace Simona De Silvestro had five seconds added to her race time after being involved in a tangle with James Golding on the last lap, dropping her to 21st.
Shane van Gisbergen’s horror weekend continued on Sunday after he made contact with DJR Team Penske’s Fabian Coulthard early in the race at Turn 13, forcing his fellow Kiwi to run down the escape road.
The clash earned van Gisbergen a 15 second time penalty, relegating him to 22nd after the race and aiding his free fall to 11th in the points standings.
Teams and drivers will regroup ahead of the next round, only a fortnight away at the Symmons Plains circuit in Tasmania.