Sport: Rival's stinging McLaughlin claim - - PressFrom - Australia
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Sport Rival's stinging McLaughlin claim

02:35  20 november  2019
02:35  20 november  2019 Source:   wwos.nine.com.au

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a close up of a car: David Reynolds in action on the Gold Coast.© Getty David Reynolds in action on the Gold Coast. Holden driver David Reynolds says the recent controversy that has engulfed the Supercars championship is actually good for the sport.

The category has been in the headlines since Scott McLaughlin's Bathurst win last month, which was overshadowed firstly by teammate Fabian Coulthard's "go-slow" under the safety car, which gifted McLaughlin a free pit stop, and then revelations that the qualifying engine in the DJR Team Penske Mustang contravened the regulations.

Tensions escalated further during the Sandown 500 earlier this month, when McLaughlin referred to the atmosphere in the paddock as "toxic."

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That prompted an angry response from Triple Eight boss Roland Dane, who told Wide World of Sports that there was only one team responsible for the controversy, and any perceived toxicity in the paddock on McLaughlin's behalf was "self-inflicted."

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Reynolds, who sits sixth in the championship heading into this weekend's final round in Newcastle, says sometimes it's a case of there being no such thing as bad publicity.

"With any controversy there's always some good to come out of it," Reynolds told Wide World of Sports.

"People get more invested in the controversy and there's debate from those on both sides of the fence. I love our sport, and as long as there's controversy, I think it's for the good of the sport.

"Even though some teams might look bad, I actually really enjoy it. As long as I'm not involved in it, I'm enjoying it!"

The former Bathurst champ also took a shot at McLaughlin's comments about the toxic atmosphere in the paddock.

"I wonder who he was aiming those comments at?" Reynolds asked.

"Most of us in the paddock get along pretty well. But he seems to be an outsider for some reason."

For Reynolds, who's been in the category since debuting in 2007, this season will go down as the most unusual. While the Bathurst controversy has dominated the last six weeks, parity has been a talking point all year as the category tries to create a level playing field between the different cars.

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a red car on a race track: Scott McLaughlin and Alex Premat during their Bathurst 1000 victory.© Getty Scott McLaughlin and Alex Premat during their Bathurst 1000 victory.

Asked if the various squabbles mean McLaughlin's wins, both in the championship and at Bathurst, come with an asterisk, Reynolds was in no doubt.

"Definitely it does. 100 per cent. It's been a very funny year, with all the stuff that's gone on, especially at Bathurst with the engine dramas and then Fabian holding everyone up, it hasn't felt right," he said.

"The whole year hasn't felt correct, it's been really strange. As far as I'm concerned it's the strangest year I can remember since I've been in the sport."

That year will come to an end in Newcastle on Sunday, a track where Reynolds has shone since Supercars first raced there in 2017. A fifth and a third place in the two races that year were followed by a second and a first in 2018, and the Penrite Racing star is keen to repeat the dose again in 2019, if only to put a difficult endurance season behind him.

While a fifth place at Bathurst and podium in race two at the Gold Coast might look good on paper, Reynolds and co-driver Luke Youlden were on the back foot in each of the three races.

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Youlden had a heavy crash during practice for Bathurst, while Reynolds could only manage 22nd in qualifying, a result he described as "horrible."

A good strategy netted the team fifth place at the mountain, while race one on the Gold Coast was compromised by a damaged front splitter. Third place in race two seemed to have things back on track, but Reynolds didn't even get in the car at Sandown, after it was damaged in an altercation with Youlden at the wheel in the early stages of the race.

"It was a very tough endurance season for us, I reckon we spent more time in the pits than on the track for the endurance season!" Reynolds joked.

Scott McLaughlin, Jamie Whincup posing for the camera: David Reynolds (centre) on the podium at Newcastle in 2018 with Scott McLaughlin (left) and Jamie Whincup.© Getty David Reynolds (centre) on the podium at Newcastle in 2018 with Scott McLaughlin (left) and Jamie Whincup.

Reynolds' late-season form in 2018 had some tipping him as a possible 2019 champion, but the introduction of the all-conquering Ford Mustang meant the Erebus driver had no realistic chance. Reynolds was forced to watch the Mustang drivers disappear up the road, while the non-Ford teams fought over the scraps.

It's not a feeling he's keen to repeat.

"It's horrible," he said.

"It's a horrible, horrible feeling to turn up every weekend and you know if you do a really good job you might be fifth or sixth. It's demoralising. It wasn't a fair competition. Hopefully it's better next year."

While the cars will be re-homologated during the off-season in the hope of levelling the playing field in 2020, Reynolds isn't yet certain the Commodore will be able to compete on equal terms with the Mustang next year.

"I don't know if it will be perfect. I'd love to say yes, I'd love to have full confidence in the category to do a good job, but on the other hand this year has happened because of them," he said.

"There's different people involved now, different management overseeing all of this, so hopefully it gets sorted.

"I'd love to have a much more even category in 2020, not just from my point of view, but from the category's perspective as well."

SVG named Supercars' best and fairest .
Holden star Shane van Gisbergen has claimed the Barry Sheene Medal as Supercars' best and fairest driver at the end of season awards in Sydney on Monday night. The award - named after the late motorcycle world champion and popular Supercars commentator - is decided by votes from motorsport journalists.Despite finishing 562 points shy of fellow New Zealander McLaughlin in the standings, van Gisbergen was still impressive behind the wheel with five race wins, four poles and 12 podiums.

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