MARK Winterbottom and Will Brown have had a heated post-race exchange following their opening lap collision at Pukekohe Park Raceway.
The pair made contact through the sweeper that leads onto the pit straight, resulting in Brown spearing off into the Turn 10 barriers at high speed.
Winterbottom cut a rattled figure upon being interviewed during the subsequent Race 28 red flag stoppage, admitting there had been contact but declaring there was no malice.
Brown and Erebus Motorsport CEO Barry Ryan were not so forgiving.
“Winterbottom wasn’t happy from the corner before and put me off,” said an animated Brown.
“That was the biggest hit I’ve ever had. Some of them you’re not too bothered about but that was a pretty big hit.
“Going in at that speed I knew I was screwed, going to hit the side of wall.
“I got out of the car, I was pretty badly winded. But I’m feeling alright now. Just a bit sore on my left side.”
Brown said the car is “rooted” and that he was expecting an apology from the 2015 champion.
“It’s pretty disappointing. Everyone goes two-wide through here and knows what the consequences are if you put someone off like that… I hope he comes down and says something,” said Brown.
Winterbottom indeed did venture down to the Erebus garage, with tempers flaring as he and Brown spoke, with Ryan pushing Winterbottom on multiple occasions.
After finishing 22nd, having copped a drive-through penalty, Winterbottom reiterated there was no intent.
“It looks bad on footage when someone ends up like that; unfortunately with the footage, it doesn’t show the Turn 4 hit, Turn 6 hit, Turn 9 hit, the concertina, and everything going on to get there,” he said.
“We were going two-wide I think, obviously you feel like there is more room there, I feel like his front wheel hit my back and lifted.
“It was not intentional at all, it’s a bad visual to watch.
“It’s always hindsight, isn’t it? Unfortunately for him, I can see why he would be angry, and disappointed.
“I got a drive-through, it’s hard when someone is not side-by-side, they’re a little bit different, you cop it, I’m glad he is okay, and that’s the main thing.”