Scott McLaughlin leads the way in Auckland.
Scott McLaughlin leads the way in Auckland.

Triple Eight deny team orders used on Whincup

TRIPLE Eight insist they feared Jamie Whincup would not have reached the finish of teh Supercars Auckland SuperSprint at the weekend because of a lack of fuel, dismissing suggestions they used team orders to allow teammate Shane van Gisbergen to pass him.

Whincup, who qualified on pole for the race, pushed eventual winner and championship leader Scott McLaughlin all the way before dramatically slowing down during the final sector of the last lap, leading to Van Gisbergen passing him to finish in second - despite being 10 seconds back before the pace came off.

The positional swap allowed SVG to reduce the potential gap at the top of the championship to 14 points with only the double-header at Newcastle to go.

Team orders are technically prohibited in Supercars and Whincup was told to save fuel over the team radio rather than explicitly told to allow his teammate to pass him.

And Triple Eight team manager Mark Dutton insisted what happened on the last lap was just down to fuel consumption and nothing else.

"I wish they were team orders in a way because unfortunately we overreacted," Dutton said. "We were concerned on fuel, we thought we weren't going to make it. So the backing off was something we thought was necessary.

"I'm the man on the fuel loads as well, so some of those stops we probably should have had a better lane time.

"We need to review and see how other people are so much quicker with the minimum drop than we were. We've made a few mistakes.

"He (Whincup) was well deep into the pot. It's one of those things that we've got to think how deep can we actually go. He definitely was low on fuel, no doubt, hand on heart he was well into the pot. We should have done a better job."