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Friday, April 19, 2024
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Why Super2 Cutting clashes were treated differently

THE complexion of both races at last weekend’s 2024 Dunlop Series opener were changed by an incident at the Cutting.

One went unpunished and the other triggered a 30-second penalty; something which Supercars’ driving standards advisor Craig Baird has now publicly explained.

Race 1 at Bathurst on Saturday met an early end courtesy of a multi-car pile-up.

The catalyst was Super2 duo Cameron Crick and Zane Morse making contact at the Cutting shortly after a Safety Car restart, leading to others being inadvertently tangled. Crick was cleared of being wholly or predominantly to blame.

The following day, Zach Bates tagged Cooper Murray at the same corner while battling for third place. The result was a second DNF in as many days for Murray, while a 30-second penalty dumped Bates to 22nd.

“They looked the same but they’re very, very different when you pull them apart,” Baird said on V8 Sleuth’s Race Control podcast.

“So the Saturday one, I think people were throwing stones at Cameron Crick but because there was a concertina and a queue going in there quite slowly, and they were all very wide, he has just kind of filled the gap and Morse just didn’t see him.

“But he was way in there, had plenty of room, the outside lane was quite slow because of the concertina, so he had every right to fill the gap and he was right up inside…

“Everyone wanted to blame Cameron Crick but on that occasion, frame by frame, you use the helicopter and go ‘how much overlap’, take all of those things into consideration.”

Baird contrasted that against Bates’ “low-percentage manoeuvre”.

“That’s just two cars racing one-on-one, both in the same style of car, same tyre, two very good drivers,” he said.

“I’ve never been passed there and I’ve never passed a car there…

“Bates just wanted a gap, and there’s always a little bit of a gap as you come around the kink before it, but that diminishes very quickly and he tried to create the gap; too late, didn’t get enough overlap, causing avoidable contact and taking a car out of the race.

“I was a little bit surprised with that, because he’s an extremely good driver, was in a very good position, running second overall for the weekend and he is a real championship contender.

“He was very upset with the decision but I spoke to Luffy (Walkinshaw Andretti United Super2 driver mentor Warren Luff), Luffy already knew. He goes ‘mate, not up far enough, I know’.”

Kai Allen leads the Super2 standings after starting his title defence with two wins at Mount Panorama.

Wanneroo Raceway will host Round 2 in May.

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