McLaughlin and Mustang win Bathurst

Brenda Watkins
October 18, 2019

Ford driver Fabian Coulthard has hit back at the barrage of criticism he's been hit with for a dodgy tactic he employed during Bathurst on Sunday, saying he was merely following team orders.

Coulthard said he was a passionate racer who loved the sport and felt he was being used as a "scapegoat" for how the race ended.

Coulthard said he took it slow because he was unaware of the location of the incident which had caused the safety auto.

Coulthard may face further sanctions after stewards re-opened the probe but his team, DJR Team Penske, dismissed the incident on Sunday night.

"You need about a 40-second lead, roughly, and when you see the difference in times you can do, we were doing, I think, 1.8 faster than McLaughlin at some stage just before the yellows".

"Everyone had a chance, and the two top guys duelled it out in the end and the outcome was what we wanted".

McLaughlin and co-driver, the Frenchman Alex Premat, started from pole position in their DJR Team Penske Ford Mustang and were the combination to beat for most of the race.

The 2019 Bathurst 1000 came down right to the wire when a safety auto gave McLaughlin some breathing room with just three laps remaining as rivals Shane van Gisbergen, James Courtney and Jamie Whincup breathed down his neck.

"I only found out about what had happened at the press conference", McLaughlin told D'Arcy Waldegrave on Radio Sport.

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

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

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"We'll just go about our business the same; attack qualifying, try and get a great qualifying spot and just a smooth race".

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

"That auto has been the sacrificial lamb all year".

Van Gisbergen clearly also wasn't impressed.

"We got held up in the safety vehicle by someone, it made it tough (to win)", said van Gisbergen, the Holden star. "I put so much pressure on myself to make this a good one but I am so proud of this team".

"The Stewards reiterate that no findings have been made against Racing Team (Aust) Pty Ltd at this stage and the Driver of auto #12 is not accused of any breach of the Rules beyond the breach of Rule D10.2.2.3 for which a Pit Lane drive through Penalty was issued during the Race and was served". Supercars legend Larry Perkins texted Neil Crompton during the race to say Coulthard's sportsmanship was "disgraceful".

Mostert made contact with Waters when both drivers were supposed to be conserving fuel on lap 123, sending both cars into the sand trap at the end of The Chase.

It marked the first Bathurst win by McLaughlin's DJR team since 1994.

Whincup and co-driver Lowndes were locked in a dead-even battle for the lead with the Scott McLaughlin/Alexandre Premat vehicle until around 20 laps to go, at which point the strategies for the two contenders deviated.

A total of 201,975 people flocked to Mount Panorama over four days.

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