I wasn't sure what was happening at the time, so I just had to follow orders.
Somebody in the Perth control tower may have ruined my championship.
Their mistake certainly spoiled my 450th race start celebrations on Sunday. Our team principal, Roland Dane, said it must have been Stevie Wonder who gave the safety car the wrong directions in the final race in Perth at the weekend.
Anyone could see that it was Jamie (Whincup) who was leading the race and not me. If teams or drivers stuff up we get penalised, but if race control makes a fundamental error there is no penalty. They should probably give us a negative 25 point penalty for the damage they caused to our championship, although that is never going to happen. Needless to say I am pretty disappointed. In fact, gutted.
I'll feel even worse if the championship comes down to 20-odd points at the end of the season. I don't know what you can do. Ideally when those blokes are useless they should be replaced. I'd hate to have that position. It's a big commitment and responsibility but when you make a fundamental error, something needs to be done. The problem was that safety car driver Amber Anderson was told to pick up the "Triple 8 car", so she did what she was told. It wasn't her fault.
But telling her to pick up the Triple 8 car is like saying pick up the FPR car, or the HRT car. Which one? So our car and a few others were stuck at 80km/h behind the safety car while everyone else was at race pace around the track and going into the pits. I wasn't sure what was happening at the time, so I just had to follow orders. Race control didn't realise their mistake until just after turn 6, the second last corner, when they let us past.
By then about a dozen cars had raced away and gone through the pits, jumping the queue and shuffling us back to 15th. We had been running fourth and with a quick pit stop we were looking good to press for the lead. In fairness what they could have done is red flag the race and put the order back to what it was before everyone pitted. This sort of thing doesn't happen very often, but in the past they've tried to reshuffle back to the correct order while the safety car is still out there.
If there is a dangerous situation on the track, they are allowed to bring out the safety car and pick up any car, then slow everyone down until they figure out the order and let the pack reform. This situation may have been a bit more difficult, because they had people pitting at the time, but by not doing anything about it, they have not only dudded several drivers, but also the fans who want to see a real race, not some fabricated result. In the end, I salvaged points with a third and two sixths and remain at fourth in the championship so it's not all bad, although we have now lost touch with the top three and that will make my championship all the more difficult.
The championship is certainly developing into a Holden versus Ford battle which is good for the fans. FPR have picked up their game this year and shown they are serious contenders with consistent speed and good race strategies. And how about that last lap on Sunday? That's the second event in a row where we've had thrilling racing right to the finish line. Despite the safety car debacle, the fans should be really satisfied with the quality of racing this year.
It was disappointing for Jamie to be going for a race win and end up third, but that is one of the most difficult positions to be in where you are trying to pass while also having to defend a position. Once again we have another quick fortnight turn-around between far-flung events. We had to get the vehicles back quickly from Perth, turn them around in three days and then ship them off again for the next round next weekend (MAY 18-20) in Phillip Island where our team plans to avenge the injustices of last weekend.