Brodie Kostecki has shrugged off a bizarre close call with a recovery truck late in the Repco Bathurst 1000 as “a bit unlucky”, refusing to blame it for a lost podium.
The #99 Boost Mobile Commodore was among the leading contenders throughout the Great Race and sat second to Shane van Gisbergen with 20 laps remaining.
A Safety Car called for Will Davison’s crash at Griffins Bend triggered Kostecki and van Gisbergen in for their final pitstops of the race.
When Kostecki re-entered the circuit, he was in a race to the Safety Car positioning line on Mountain Straight with Chaz Mostert, who had pitted from third the previous lap.
Mostert beat Kostecki to the crucial line, but only after Kostecki appeared to back off to avoid a recovery truck dispatched to the scene of Davison’s accident.
Kostecki confirmed post-race that he did lift off due to the presence of the officials’ vehicle.
“There was a car stuck under the fence, safety does come first and unfortunately, we just got a bit of bad luck there,” he said.
“I’m not sure if we would have beaten Chaz or not but I know it was really, really tight and I did have to lift out of the throttle trying to beat him out. It was a bit disappointing.
“It might have put us on the podium, I’m not really sure, but we didn’t have a fast enough car today, we’ll have to try again next year.”
On whether he asked for officials to redress the two cars in the wake of the incident, Kostecki stressed he’d been unsure exactly how it’d played out.
“I thought I was in front of Chaz, but it was hard to see, he was in my blind spot,” he said. “I saw that he wasn’t in front of me to the point where I lifted but that’s not the line.
“I was trying to navigate the safety truck and I saw him coming last-second as well, so I had to lift so we didn’t have a monumental with the safety truck.”
Kostecki eventually finished fourth after being overtaken by Cam Waters on the subsequent Safety Car restart 15 laps from the finish.
“We really executed the whole day well with the strategy, unfortunately we just didn’t have enough power to keep up with those front guys,” said Kostecki.
“We were losing three tenths down the straights.
“My car was really good across the top and down the hill but when you’ve got cars in front of you, you can’t pass, you just end up being a sitting duck.
“(On the restart) I was going to cover (Waters) off and honestly I should have done a better job of it.
“But I think he had enough pace on me, he had seven or eight kays on me down the straight, so I think we probably could have ended up in an aeroplane crash or something like that.
“Cam likes to have a go, so I just pulled out last-second, but I should have done a better job of it.”
Waters’ co-driver James Moffat had been spun by Kostecki at Griffins Bend early in the race, an incident that drew no penalty from officials and a succinct comment from Kostecki.
“Just don’t turn in,” he said.
Kostecki and Russell were the best of the three Erebus Commodores.
Will Brown and Jack Perkins recovered to 10th after the latter was spun in an opening lap melee, while the Richie Stanaway/Greg Murphy wildcard was 11th.