Team Penske officials have taken a backseat in the title duel betwixt their drivers, Fabian Coulthard and Scott McLaughlin, saying that the team will not get involved in which wins the Supercars title.
It is not uncommon for teams to intervene on the behalf of a favoured son, but with Coulthard currently in first and McLaughlin in second in terms of the season standings, Team Penske is in the driver’s seat so long as both drivers finish the race, it is reasonable to assume that Penske will be the ultimate winner.
The issue will be decided this weekend at the Townsville 400. Coulthard holds a slim 10-point margin. DJR Penske Team Boss Ryan Story was quite vehement in saying neither driver would receive preferential treatment in an attempt to gain maximum points for the team.
“There will be no team orders,’’ Story said. “We are not the type of team to do that. But we are certainly after the best result for DJR Team Penske. That is our mentality.’’
Team orders are not without risk, so perhaps Penske has an interest that exceeds sportsmanship and fair play. In 2010, F1 Team Ferrari was fined to the tune of $US100,000 for telling German Grand Prix race leader Felipe Massa to allow teammate Fernando Alonso to go by in order to close the points gap held by Sebastian Vettel.
Rather, Story went on to say, it would be a cohesive team effort to ensure that Team Red Bull, led by six-time Supercars champion Jamie Whincup, from overtaking Coulthard in points. Whincup trails by just 16 points, so Team Penske is focused on protecting its lead over Red Bull.
The Townsville SuperSprint will stage practice sessions on Friday, with a race on Saturday and Sunday in what has been one of the most successful and competitive Supercars competitions in recent years.