After yesterday’s Race 16, Scott McLaughlin was fuming. And it wasn’t because of where he finished – but his treatment back in the pack.
He labeled fellow Kiwi countryman Shane van Gisbergen an “arsehole” and said his on-track behaviour was bad sportsmanship.
McLaughlin claimed the TEKNO driver gave him “the bird” while passing him on the straight and said they had words post-race.
The Volvo driver started third on the grid, but damage to his door meant a longer pit stop – that’s how he became mixed up with van Gisbergen, who had a shocking weekend and spent most of his time at the back of the field.
“We had to fix the door, which meant we had to go more fuel and we were a heavy car at the back of the field,” McLaughlin began telling v8supercars.com.au.
“So we got caught up in stuff that we shouldn’t have. That’s pretty much what happened and we came up to people on worse tyres – I think van Gisbergen was on a bad set of tyres and we were a lot faster.
“I’ve always tried to race that bloke pretty clean and with respect, because we’ve got like a little Kiwi code going on, and I would say he was very unsportsman-like towards myself – and he let a lot of other people through, and nice without touching them. And then when it came up to me, he was an arsehole.
“What happened – I don’t know what his deal is.
“I’ve never tried to upset him in any ways but we’ve moved on – I saw him after the race and we’ll move on from this, but I had to go say something to him because I was a bit upset.
“I’m not trying to have a whinge or anything like that but I just don’t rate unsportsmanlike conduct, I guess.”
What was van Gisbergen’s reaction to McLaughlin’s approach?
“He just said that he was on the same lap as me,” McLaughlin explained.
“I said ‘I know mate, you were on the same lap as me, I was racing you hard, but I just don’t understand why you have to wreck both our races for the sake of (it) – and then he drives past me down the straight and he’s pulling the bird at me.
“I just find that absolutely appalling to be honest. What can you say? I’ve always been taught by my family to be respectful to other people and when (there’s) an unknown reason for someone to do that to you, is pretty average I reckon.”
Both talented young drivers, both Kiwi favourites – another race side-by-side and there could be a new rivalry ignited in V8 Supercars.
“I don’t want a rivalry with him,” McLaughlin said.
“I understand – we’re all Kiwis and we all want the same thing. But when you go out of your way to stuff someone over, for no apparent reason and then go down the straight and pull the bird at them, obviously you’re aiming to stuff their race…
“I’ve always given him respect and room on the track. There’s biff and barge but we always race pretty cleanly, and at Puke last round… I sound like a sook, but it’s just one of those things.”
McLaughlin finished the race 17th and van Gisbergen 20th.
Van Gisbergen spoke to v8supercars.com.au earlier on Sunday but did not mention any incidents with McLaughlin. In fact, he was impressed by the courteous driving at the back of the pack.
“People were quite respectful for once, every other time I’ve been up the back this year it hasn’t been that good,” the TEKNO driver said. “We’ve got a straight car, we didn’t really get bumped into, so it was alright.”