'Blatantly cheated': Bathurst winner rocked by shock disqualification call

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

Penrite Racing boss Barry Ryan says Scott McLaughlin should be stripped of the Bathurst 1000 title because of Fabian Coulthard’s actions late in Sunday’s race.

Coulthard was initially slapped with a drive-through penalty after he dramatically slowed down during a safety car and held up the field behind his Ford teammate McLaughlin, who went on to claim his maiden Bathurst crown.

‘THAT’S MATCH-FIXING’: Holden driver’s fury over Bathurst ‘disgrace’

But Coulthard, who is third in the series standings, now faces a fine or loss of championship points after stewards ordered his DJR Team Penske team to face a hearing on the Gold Coast next week.

However that’s not good enough for Ryan, who says the whole team “blatantly cheated.”

"Essentially that team blatantly cheated, I guess, and fixed the race, from that point,” Ryan told Autosport.

Fabian Coulthard slowed down and opened up a gap for Scott McLaughlin. Image: Supercars/Getty

“There's no other way to look at it. It's pretty clear from the vision, the radio, the body language of the people they interviewed within the team that they did it on purpose.

"It's pretty damaging. Unfortunately, there is so much public damage going on around it anyway, we just don't need another thing like this that damages our integrity and the way our sport is perceived.”

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Ryan also told Speedcafe he thinks McLaughlin should lose the Bathurst title because of it.

"They have got to be disqualified, the whole team has to be excluded. It’s not good enough because then you can buy Bathurst.”

Ryan said the controversial tactic cost his team of David Reynolds and Luke Youlden a podium finish.

"One hundred per cent (it influenced the race). We were on a strategy where if they didn't do that we would have bounced out in either first or second," said Ryan.

McLaughlin set to keep Bathurst title

Officials will investigate whether Coulthard's actions influenced the outcome of the race after following team orders to slow down.

McLaughlin is not set to be stripped of his maiden Bathurst victory but governing body Confederation of Australian Motor Sport have confirmed the 2019 Bathurst 1000 results remain provisional until the hearing.

Coulthard sparked an uproar over his actions on Sunday, with Supercars legend Larry Perkins describing them as "disgraceful".

Critics weren't happy when a then-third placed Coulthard backed up the field as top two Jamie Whincup and McLaughlin raced to their garage for a pit stop to get much-needed fuel during the safety car period with 26 of the race's 161 laps left.

Coulthard's snail's pace under the yellow flag - in which drivers are not allowed to overtake - extended the gap between a hard charging Shane van Gisbergen and the leading duo from one to 47 seconds.

Coulthard's actions also avoided double stacking or waiting behind his teammate McLaughlin in the pits.

McLaughlin went on to hold out a fast-finishing van Gisbergen by 0.68 seconds to claim his first Bathurst crown.

DJR Team Penske team boss Ryan Story insisted on Sunday there was a problem with overheating in Coulthard's car at the time of the controversy.

Coulthard vowed to clear his name, saying he felt like a "scapegoat".

"For me, the Safety Car came out and I was told to slow up and take extreme caution," he told Motorsport.com.

"We had an overheating drama at the same time. I slowed up and did what I was told.

"I'm getting absolutely smashed for something I was told to do.

"I need to clear my name. It's not my style. I don't race like that, I'm a clean racer.

"To see what I'm reading, I'm getting pretty shafted for it. I'm the scapegoat."

Runner-up Van Gisbergen clearly wasn't happy about the incident after again missing out on winning his first Bathurst title.

"We got held up in the safety car by someone, it made it tough (to win)," said the Holden star.

"(But) that car (Coulthard) has been the sacrificial lamb all year (for DJR Team Penske)."

with AAP