Drivers cleared by stewards after awkward teammates clash
Cam Waters will get to keep his third place finish from today's race in New Zealand, after being cleared of any wrongdoing in the awkward teammate clash with Chaz Mostert and Mark Winterbottom on Lap 1.
The three Prodrive Fords were running third, fourth, and fifth respectively on the opening lap of today's 200-kilometre race, Mostert leading Winterbottom and Waters.
But when the latter two drivers came to blows at the hairpin as Waters tried to sneak up the inside of Winterbottom, the trio were all caught up in an awkward intra-team squabble.
It resulted in Mostert being turned around by Winterbottom following the initial contact with Waters, those two left stranded while Waters snuck through into third spot.
The matter was quickly deferred to a post-race race inquiry, the Deputy Race Director subsequently electing to not refer it to the stewards as none of the drivers were 'wholly or predominantly to blame'.
Waters cautious after apology
After going on to finish third, Waters admitted post-race that he had apologised to both Mostert and Winterbottom. However, he also said he wasn't convinced it was his fault, feeling that Winterbottom had shut the door on him.
"For me, I thought the move was on," said Waters.
"I got up to his door and through the brake zone he pushed me to the inside kerb. I thought it was all okay and then obviously Chaz was already committed to the corner and it was just a big sandwich.
"I went and apologised to them. To be honest I’m not sure if it’s my fault or not. Chaz is fine, he gets it. Mark’s a little bit upset by it.
"It’s okay, they’ll be right, they’ll get over it.
"Obviously both of them got taken out of the race, whoever’s fault it was. For me I wanted to apologise just in case.
"We’ll obviously look at the stewards’ stuff and if it is my fault, okay, I put my hand up for it. But if nothing happens then yeah, it’s all good."
Winterbottom left reeling
Winterbottom came out of the incident with a different point of view to his teammate, claiming that his race was 'ruined' by Waters, and that it was a 'wasted opportunity'.
“There’s not much to say," said Winterbottom.
"Frankly our race was ruined by one of our own, so that’s quite disappointing. Cam thought the move was on, but this is the end result and it’s tough to deal with.
"The car was quick, the team prepared it well, so it goes down as a wasted opportunity."
Mostert was the biggest loser from the situation, the mess leaving him all but out of title contention despite a spirited drive back into the Top 10.
Still, he said after the race that he is willing to forgive and forget whoever is at fault, given that he made his own mistake during Saturday's race when he clashed with David Reynolds.
"There's no point drudging on about it," he told Motorsport.com.
"If it's a mistake, then... I made a mistake yesterday and hit Reynolds. We're driving these cars on the absolute edge, it's so easy to sometimes overstep it.
"As long as someone says 'hey I buggered up', then it's all good. If not, then you want to look at it a bit more.
"Obviously it hurt our championship today, whatever happened. And I don't know what I could have differently. I was into the corner, did my normal line, and I saw what I presume was Frosty behind me blocking someone. I was focussing on the exit of the corner, and I was turned quicker than I could catch it.
"I haven't looked at it that much. And it doesn't even matter when you go back and look at the vision, because what's done is done. It doesn't get you back in the top three positions."
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