First- lap blunder hits hard
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.”