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Van Gisbergen, Kostecki react to Townsville penalties

Shane van Gisbergen and Brodie Kostecki have both questioned whether they deserved their respective penalties during a wild opening race in Townsville.

Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering

Photo by: Edge Photographics

The pair were both hit with 15-second penalties early in today's first sprint race for seperate, but not entirely unrelated, incidents.

Kostecki's penalty was for firing into the back of Todd Hazelwood at the last corner on the opening lap.

Van Gisbergen was then penalised at the same corner a lap later when he forced his way up the inside of Kostecki. The pair made side-by-side contact a number of times mid-corner before Kostecki was bounced into the outside wall on the exit.

The Kiwi recovered to sixth place after serving the additional time during his stop.

After the race he questioned why he was penalised at all, blaming the outcome on side-by-side contact initiated by Kostecki.

He said it was a similar situation late in the race with Scott Pye, who was run wide by van Gisbergen as they scrapped over sixth place.

"It probably didn't look like it, but I pulled a pass down the inside and tried to hug tight, and [Kostecki] just kept hitting my right rear," van Gisbergen told Fox Sports. 

"It straightened me up. You want to give racing room, and you can probably see from the on-board that I'm trying. But he just kept hitting me and I couldn't keep the car turned. 

"The same happened with Scotty later, you try and keep tight and they keep hitting your right rear.

"I don't want to run guys off the road, but I can't turn if they're hitting me. I didn't do it on purpose.

"You need to give racing room, and I was trying. But I can't do it when [Kostecki is] putting me off. I want side-by-side racing but he didn't want the same. And Lap 1 what he did was crazy as well. It's hard to race with someone like that."

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As referenced by van Gisbergen, Kostecki had caused a stir with a bold late-braking move into Turn 2 on the first lap. 

But van Gisbergen said the second-lap move was in no way meant as retribution for Kostecki's forceful driving. 

"One hundred per cent not," he said. "It is what it is. The car is fast. I had the fastest car in the race again but we [started] too far back."

Kostecki, meanwhile, said that his move on Hazelwood was a response to similar contact from the Brad Jones Racing driver two corners earlier.

"I got used as a brake going into Turn 11 by the #14 and that broke the front steering," said the Erebus driver. "And it all went a bit downhill from there. I got a 15-second penalty after I bumped [Hazelwood] into the next corner after he used me as a brake. I

"I'm all for hard racing, but it's a bit strange to me."

Kostecki finished down in 22nd thanks to both the penalty and the steering damage he carried for the majority of the race.

Pye also had his say about van Gisbergen's last corner antics, his take that the Kiwi simply ran him wide.

"I'm all for hard racing, and I'm not one to be a blocker but I'll defend my position," he said. "But he just turfed me off. It's not in my play book to be doing that. We were side-by-side and he just drove me off the road. Disappointed."

There was one driver happy to take his penalty on the chin, Jamie Whincup putting his hand up for the pitlane speeding infringement that dropped him from second on the road to fifth in the final results.

"I’m not kicking myself – the sport is all about pushing the limits," he said. 

"If you leave a heap in reserve everywhere, then you don’t get anywhere. I’ve pushed the limit like that five-or-six-times this year, and we managed to get a position in the race. But unfortunately, we were just over the pitlane speed limit and boom, we received a 15-second penalty. 

"I’m happy that it didn’t sacrifice a win for us, as that would have been painful, but we ended up losing a few points. All in all, it was a reasonable day.”

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