First- lap blun­der hits hard

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - MOTORSPORT - JAMES PHELPS

DAVE Reynolds’ cham­pi­onship dream took a hit yes­ter­day when the gi­ant-slay­ing Holden driver was punted off Win­ton Race­way af­ter just one lap.

In a col­li­sion that sent him to last and dented his ti­tle chance, Reynolds had to spend 30 laps in the pits af­ter he col­lided with Richie Stan­away and Jack Le Broq.

Hop­ing to be the driver to stop DJR Team Penske charger Scott McLaugh­lin from win­ning this year’s crown, Reynolds’ woes had him sur­ren­der sec­ond place on the leader­board to for­mer cham­pion Shane van Gis­ber­gen. “It was all hap­pen­ing on that first lap,’’ Reynolds said.

“I slowed down to get away from all the mess but I ended up get­ting caught up in it any­way. I ended up cop­ping some con­tact in the sweeper and I ended off the track.

“But it was my fault in the end be­cause I didn’t qual­ify well. That is what put me back there.’’

McLaugh­lin re­tained his cham­pi­onship lead despite sur­ren­der­ing what would have been his fifth straight win.

In a rare mis­take that stopped him join­ing Mark Skaife and Jim Richards as a win­ner of five con­sec­u­tive races, McLaugh­lin fal­tered on a safety car restart to go from first to fifth. “It was a lit­tle er­ror there,’’ he said.

“The sur­face of the tyre was very cold and I went through the last cor­ner and thought it was go­ing to be in­ter­est­ing and it was. It was a bad day but it is still nice for the team’s cham­pi­onship to end up with fifth and (Fabian Coulthard fin­ished) fourth.”

Dave Reynolds.

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