Engel, van Gisbergen respond to explosive TV interview
Maro Engel concedes he shouldn’t have given a television interview so soon after Shane van Gisbergen’s race-ending crash at the Bathurst 12 Hour.
The German, teamed up with van Gisbergen in the STM/HTP Mercedes at Bathurst this weekend, made his displeasure with the Kiwi’s late-race antics very public in a TV interview moments after a crash that ended the team’s charge at Mount Panorama, and cost the crew a sure-thing second place.
“That’s not motorsport in my book,” said Engel at the time, after being filmed storming out of the garage. “I’ve got to watch out what I’m saying, but all I’ve seen this weekend is a lot of mistakes from Shane. It’s a tough one.”
Speaking to Motorsport.com an hour after the finish of the race, Engel admitted that he shouldn’t have taken part in the interview – although held firm on his criticism on van Gisbergen’s mistakes.
“I’ve spoken to Shane. He’s apologised to me for basically ending the race, and I’ve apologised to him for blowing up on TV,” said Engel.
“I probably shouldn't have given an interview at that stage, that’s fair to say. It wasn’t the right time to give an interview.
“He’s an amazing driver, everybody knows that. But probably by his own standards this weekend he couldn’t be happy with the mistakes he’s made, whether its qualifying when he ended up in the sand, or the late phase of the race.
“But anyway, that’s motorsport. He is a great driver, and it’s just a shame, because no one is used to seeing that from him. I’m sure he’s disappointed as well.
“It’s obviously a disappointing end. I’m pretty proud of the fight everyone [in the team] put up, a little bit against the odds.
“We struggled with straightline speed obviously, but the car was handling great. The three drivers were on it all the time, pushing hard. It’s just disappointing in the end, but as they say, that’s motorsport.”
Van Gisbergen was unmoved by Engel’s public criticism, but accepted full blame not only for hitting the wall, but an incident with a lapped car several minutes earlier which resulted in a back marker Porsche in the fence and the #22 Mercedes being slapped with a penalty it never had a chance to take.
“I don’t even know what [Engel] said, but he apologised for it,” van Gisbergen told Motorsport.com.
“I have no comment about what he said.
“I apologised to him, I apologised to everyone on our team, as well as the Porsche that I made contact with. He backed off and I couldn’t get off of him, so it was my stuff up.
“I was just pushing over the limit to try and make the best of what we had, and it didn’t work out.
“I really hate making mistakes and letting the team down. I’ll put it down to experience and make myself better from it, but it shouldn’t happen.
“I didn’t know about the penalty at the time, after that amount of time I thought we’d be okay. So I was just trying to run with Jamie [Whincup].
“I tried too hard and dropped it.”
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