“You shouldn’t move over for anyone, unless your teammate is the guy you’re racing with.”
They’re the wise words from 2013 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 winner and Championship leader Mark Winterbottom to talented youngster Scott McLaughlin after Sunday’s race in Perth.
McLaughlin was fuming after the 200km dash at Barbagallo Raceway, during which he had an intense battle with fellow Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen.
The Volvo driver felt his countryman made it exceptionally hard for him to pass, while others were given an easy line around the TEKNO Commodore, and labeled the behaviour bad sportsmanship.
“I read that Scott said they have this Kiwi ‘bromanship’ which works and they’re meant to let each other past and all that sort of stuff, which I find pretty bizarre,” Winterbottom told fans on his online chat.
“You shouldn’t move over for anyone, unless your teammate is the guy you’re racing with.
“He’s got to earn his way past him, he has to earn it. And ‘Gis’ is probably one of the hardest blokes to race.
“But because they’re from the same country doesn’t mean they should let each other past!
“I’m sure they’ll shake and make up.”
McLaughlin’s Valvoline GRM boss Garry Rogers echoed the same sentiment – no matter who it is, get the job done and keep focused.
“(McLaughlin) mentioned some issue with Shane, he’d held him up when he was attempting to pass – I don’t know, I didn’t see it, and my view is you just do your best to get past, get on with it, get ready for the next one!”
However, Rogers wasn’t discouraging any kind of rivalry between the two young drivers, saying the sport needs more head-to-head battles.
“I think that you’d have to say there’s a rivalry there now – that probably goes back to New Zealand days and what have you.
“And that’s not a bad thing. My view is rivalry is very good… There’s been lots of rivalries and my view is there’s not enough rivalry in our business.
“We really need to give it the very best, if your emotions run high every now and again, so be it! Deal with it… I often make a statement there’s only one thing more emotional than romance – sport.”
Van Gisbergen did not want to comment on the incident or his post-race conversation with McLaughlin or the Valvoline GRM team.
Just 21 points separate the two in the Championship, with van Gisbergen sixth on 861 and Volvo’s McLaughlin seventh on 840.
Both have recorded one race win this season, though McLaughlin has earned four ARMOR ALL Pole Positions to van Gisbergen’s one.