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Scott McLaughlin’s victory at the 2019 Bathurst 1000 was overshadowed by a team orders controversy that dominated the Supercars news cycle for more than a week after the race - and rivals are still bitter about what transpired in the final few laps of last year’s running.
Mount Panorama has been home to plenty of controversy over the years, but McLaughlin’s win for DJR Team Penske remains ‘tainted’ by the team orders controversy that ended the race in 2019 according to Erebus Motorsport boss Barry Ryan.
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McLaughlin’s teammate Fabian Coulthard was ordered to slow down while in second place under the safety car in the late stages of the race, creating an unassailable gap between the leading McLaughlin and the trailing field.
Later investigations found the DJR team guilty of an engine breach at Bathurst, with Supercars officials forcing the team to start at the back of the grid for the Sandown 500 as a result, as well being stripped of 300 championship points and fined a total of $280,000.
McLaughlin was also stripped of qualifying and top-10 shootout victories, but crucially retained the race victory - something that hasn’t sat well with the rest of the field.
Ryan said it made no sense that the team retained their victory in light of the other penalties applied to them.
“You can’t basically qualify illegally and then still keep your race win,” he told the Daily Telegraph.
“You can’t do anything about it now, but it still sits pretty bad with a lot of people.”
Supercars rivals still fuming over Bathurst 1000 controversy
A year on from the controversial 2019 race, Ryan remains heated about the result.
The team boss said it was hard to put the 2019 race, in which Erebus driver David Reynolds finished fifth, behind him after DJR Penske had ‘intentionally ruined’ it.
“I probably feel worse (about it now) … I think they even know that it’s tainted,” he said.
“I’m a pretty good sport, but I can’t give someone credit when they do something intentional to ruin a race.
“The team order was the worst thing and the way they tried to cover it up then tried to say it was no advantage.
“I don’t really want to say the word cheat, but you can call it whatever it was.”
Ryan wasn’t alone in thinking the 2019 Bathurst 1000 would have an asterisk over it.
Triple 8 Racing team boss Roland Dane also said the tactics used under the safety car didn’t sit comfortably with any driver or team on the grid outside of DJR Penske.
“I think what went on with the engine in qualifying and the tactics in the race I don’t think they sit comfortably with anyone outside of that race team and they still don’t,” he said.
“But it doesn’t sit well with us, it doesn’t sit well with most people to be honest with the sport and it never will do.”
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