Rain and rules produce shock V8 Supercars winner

Weekend Racing Wrap

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Heavy rain and a quirk of the rules combined to produce a shock result in the opening V8 Supercars race weekend at the former home of the Australian Grand Prix.

Meanwhile Sebastien Ogier’s winning run in the World Rally Championship was halted by his team mate as NASCAR’s third race of the year went on despite a sandstorm.

V8 Supercars

Races 1, 2 and 3 of 34: Adelaide

A rainstorm and a controversy over the rules produced a shock winner in the main event of the season-opening V8 Supercars Weekend. There was shades of the 1991 Australian Grand Prix at Adelaide as heavy rain on Sunday forced the organisers to interrupt proceedings.

It also made for a confusing situation regarding the rules. The main race was scheduled for 78 laps and the ‘minimum fuel drop’ regulations brought in three years ago required drivers to take on 140 litres of fuel. But with the distance cut by 30 laps several drivers found themselves having to make late fuel stops to satisfy the regulations – while others simply couldn’t fit it all in.

The result was a shock win for Nick Percat who had pitted early on in the race while the next two drivers home – Fabian Coulthard and Scott Pye – were penalised for failing to make the necessary pit stops.

The two shorter races were held on Saturday in dry conditions. Jamie Whincup won the first following a Safety Car interruption when Tim Slade went down the turn nine escape road and couldn’t find reverse gear. Pole sitter Scott Pye fell down to 12th after hitting trouble in the pitlane.

James Courtney won a thrilling second race from fourth on the grid. Having moved up to second at the start Courtney took the lead on lap 21 of 39, and resisted fierce pressure from Whincup to win. Chaz Mostert made a triumphant return to form in his first weekend since his Bathurst 1000 qualifying crash, finishing third, while Chris Pither crashed heavily on lap two bringing out the safety car.

Ahead of race three the weather took a turn for the worse, and bright warm sunshine was replaced with torrential rain. Following a race of strategy, incident, overtaking and frantic reading of the rulebook regarding refuelling, Nick Percat emerged as the shock winner ahead of Michael Caruso in the Nissan.

World Rally Championship

Round 3 of 14: Mexico

After failing to score a single point in the first two rallies, Jari-Matti Latvala bounced back in Mexico with a commanding victory over Volkswagen team mate Sebastien Ogier. While Latvala was admittedly helped by his lower starting order, it was nonetheless an impressive performance.

M-Sport driver Mads Ostberg was promoted to the final podium place after Hyundai’s Dani Sordo was given a two-minute penalty for using too many tyres. His team incorrectly changed three tyres instead of two following the gruelling Guanajuato stage. At 80 kilometres, this was the longest stage the World Rally Championship has run in over 30 years.


Race 3 of 36: Las Vegas

Brad Keselowsko bounced back from a pit-lane speed penalty to become the third different NASCAR winner in as many races at the beginning of 2016. The Las Vegas race was disrupted by a sandstorm at one point.

Over to you

IndyCar returns this weekend
Did you watch or attend any of these races? What other racing action did you enjoy last weekend? Let us know in the comments.

Next weekend the new IndyCar season begins with its traditional curtain-raiser on the streets of St Petersburg. Meanwhile Formula E will race at the home of the Mexican Grand Prix for the first time and the NASCAR championship continues.

Thanks to Robert Mathershaw (@Mathers) for contributing to this article.

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23 comments on “Rain and rules produce shock V8 Supercars winner”

  1. First time i watched the V8 supercars this weekend, what a joy! especially the second race was awesome.

  2. Evil Homer (@)
    7th March 2016, 12:25

    I was at the Clipsal in Adelaide yesterday and wow what a confusing race! I was on the last hairpin above the pit entry and even with a TV monitor it was confusing as there is no track commentary. As always at a race track you try to keep up with driver strategy but it getshard!

    It was great to see the local boy take a win and conditions were quite bad- very similar to Melbourne 2013 when quali was postponed until the Sunday morning. Also like a few of the really wet ones in Adelaide back in the GP days, Prost does one lap and stops, Senna hits Brundle (I think) and Boutsen brings home a win! A great day!

  3. the confusion around the v8 supercar race shows how dumb gimmickey rules forcing pit stops & stuff really are.

    its like that indycar race in australia in 2002, the gimmickey rules forcing pit windows created confusion & effectively ended up fixing the result of the race.

    pit stops should be optional, nobody should be forced to pit for fuel and/or tyres, there should be no pit windows or anything. let teams and drivers do what they want!

    1. I agree, it’s a cautionary tale for a lot of racing championships at the moment.

      1. Apex Assassin
        8th March 2016, 23:31

        I like non-f1 racing series’, especially the V8s, IMSA, Rally, and WEC but i come here for the F1. Will you be changing the url and site name as these non-F1 articles seem to be getting more frequent each season.

        PS. I want to puke when i see Nascar or Indycar news here. I wish you’d at least give each series it’s own tab so I can continue to avoid exposure to those things.

        Joe Twelvepack of the USA

    2. Evil Homer (@)
      7th March 2016, 13:51

      The option of no pit stop should not be overlooked as it worked well in the past, I remember races when you could not refuel, they could go start to finish on one set- still great races. The ‘undercut’ has become so prevalent today out of necessity to be able to make an overtake happen – the best part of the race is to see who is faster at changing tyre’s, not driving!

      Cost cutting in F1 is needed at the moment, so how cost effective are having 20 engineers sitting in the UK at 3am looking at data for an undercut? Give the guy a fast car and let them drive it s better- and maybe cheaper under better reg’s.

    3. Absolutely. Let the teams figure out the fastest way from A to B and see who wins. However, for this to be effective i think we need to return to refuelling and let tyre strategy complement the race rather than dictate it. Give the teams total freedom to start the race with whatever fuel load they want (without the other team knowing). Element of surprise is key.

  4. It wasn a fine example of gimmic rules going wrong.

    A shortened race, rain etc – 140 litre fuel drop, time certain … All to fit TV windows and to “spice things up” … Sound familiar.

    V8 Supercars is second on my watch list after F1 and I watched it yesterday but have to say it was confusing as hell.

  5. I’ve been watching Australian motor racing for 50 years. I consider that I have a pretty good grasp of the rules in all the various categories but I too was confused, but will never admit it ;)

  6. Watch 26 V8 Supercars thunder around the streets of Adelaide and especially watch the 10+ lap head to head battle of Courtney & Whincup and try and tell me that we don’t have the best touring car championship in the world. It is head and shoulders above anything else out there.

    1. Completely agree @macca! Clipsal was awesome to watch Saturday and Sunday

    2. The best part was on Sunday when the Fox Sports commentary dropped out for a couple minutes. Just the sounds from the track. Was so pleasant. I wish I could have had more of that.

      1. @formulales If you press the red button on the Foxtel coverage you can go onboard certain cars with only the sounds from the track, no commentary at all.

    3. @macca If only they did the same as the DTM and broadcasted their races on Youtube?

  7. Just so people know, the mandatory fuel drop rule was not designed to be a “gimmicky” thing. The purpose of the rule is to improve parity between the engines (some engines are 2 valve and others are 4, and there are some other minor differences that affect fuel consumption), and to prevent teams from running the engines really lean to eek out fuel mileage. It had absolutely nothing to do with “spicing up the racing”, and under normal circumstances the rule works absolutely fine. It’s only now, with a significantly shortened race, that problems with it have become apparent.

    1. Well communicated. Its easy to bag rules that contribute to unusual results.
      Did the teams that did NOT take all their fuel get classified, or just drop 30 seconds? If it was just a time penalty then 30 seconds is probably better than a pit stop.

    2. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
      8th March 2016, 1:21

      Absolutely right, i’ve never seen an issue with it before now. There will be a simple solution somewhere that works well for everyone.

    3. I understand the purpose of the rule, and I fundamentally disagree with it. If certain teams can engineer an engine that complies with the rules, and uses less fuel than other engines in the series, than in my mind that’s legitimate competitive advantage that the teams with the better engineered engines should be entitled too. If the teams with the less fuel efficient engines aren’t happy, then the onus should be on them to either improve their engines, or acquire different engines.

      1. @formulales Bringing the competition closer via the rules in inherent in touring car series.

        1. @xtwl And that’s a big part of why I no longer watch touring car racing.

          I used to watch it a lot but then they all started playing around with gimmicks for the sake of equality & show (success ballast for example) which in my mind goes against the spirit of the sport so I (and everyone i know actually) just stopped watching it.

      2. @formulales While I’m not a great fan of the mandatory pit stop and minimum fuel regs either, you’ve failed to note the reason why both were introduced. It was not because the Holden and Ford V8’s were the least efficient, but due to the new entrants Volvo, Nissan and Erebus being less efficient.

        Holden and Ford had massive advantages given they have been developing and tuning those engines since the late 90’s. With the introduction of COTF and their entry they needed a way to ensure the new guys were in with a fighting chance. I remember older races in the late 90’s and early 00’s where the cars were spewing out plenty of black smoke under full throttle, to the point the commentators even mentioned it during coverage. Nowadays you’re lucky to get anything other than a few flames out the tailpipe on life-off.

        Plus if the new manufacturers aren’t at least competitive they pull out (like Erebus switching to Holden) and then that has the knock-on effect of discouraging new manufacturers from entering the sport as well. And once Holden and Ford stop making big ol’ 4 door sedans, what else are they going to race?

        So the sport needs alternate manufacturers and if that means they have to have 5 stops at Bathurst and few people whining about the rules at a rain shortened race, then so be it.

  8. The first two races were great, the last one was bizarre.

  9. With so many racing series, as well as other events, fighting to fill the seats, a certain amount of gimmickry is sadly inevitable. But those sorts of tricks to keep the crowd interested obviously have their limits.

    Imagine going to an opera where the singers only hit high notes throughout the entire performance, and then hearing the opera producer explain that “well, we noticed that people really enjoy it when the singer hits a high note, so we just added a bunch more.”

    … and then they wonder why people stay home, or change the channel.

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