On top of one of the most dramatic weekends of his life, Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen has now been labelled disrespectful.
In a wild 24 hours, the superstar Kiwi was sensationally stripped of his Race 1 victory at the Newcastle 500 following a protest.
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Triple Eight was found guilty of breaching rules due to an incorrect application of dry ice as a cooling device.
On Sunday he was at the centre of another moment of high drama after he made late contact with rival Chaz Mostert on his way to claiming victory in Race 2.
Van Gisbergen refused to redress his position late in the race and Mostert sensationally followed suit by giving van Gisbergen’s Chevrolet Camaro a nudge.
The contact was the biggest talking point to emerge from the race, but a clearly angry van Gisbergen was in no mood to talk about it.
The Red Bull Ampol Racing driver gave Fox Sports presenter Jess Yates a cold response immediately after the race when asked about the drama.
He was even icier in the post-race press conference.
As reported by foxsports.com.au, van Gisbergen at one point put his hand up and bluntly refused to answer questions directed to him by Supercars press conference moderator Chad Neylon. He also pushed his microphone away when finishing one of his curt responses.
Neylon: Shane, bouncing back, I imagine there was a bit of disappointment with the team today so did that make today’s race win even a little bit sweeter?
SVG: So basically just repeat what I said on track (to Yates), thanks to my team, our cars were awesome but all our talking was done on the track so thank you.
Neylon: Nah mate, it’s a press conference. We’ve got to ask you questions.
SVG: (Looks bemused) All the talking was done on track today, thank you.
Journo: Mate c’mon. Are you serious?
Supercars icon Mark Skaife was scathing of van Gisbergen’s behaviour.
“We’ve been in some pretty tense press conferences over the years … but when you’re the champ, you have an ambassador’s role in this sport,” Skaife said.
“Although you might not want to make any more comment, you actually have a duty as a custodian of the sport to say what you need to say about the result and what’s gone on today.
“He won’t be liking disqualification from yesterday. He’s come in today angry about how it is, but there is a duty of care.
“There is something about being the champion driver and the ambassador for the sport.
“If you’re a media person from anywhere in this country and you want a comment about Supercar racing, the first person you ask is Shane van Gisbergen.
“He has a duty. As one of the highest-paid, the absolute bloke who has been the benchmark operator. He is extraordinary, maybe one of the best drivers ever – I call him Jim Richards-like but you do off the track have a duty and that’s not right.
“You can have a villain … but what there is is a real distinction between being the bad guy and villain. You never heard an Allan Moffat or Russell Ingall not answer a question in a press conference.
“They might not have been as liked as Peter Brock who was the golden child of this stuff, but at any point there is a duty.”
Van Gisbergen’s former teammate Garth Tander said the three-time champion needed to be better.
“For me that’s a bit of respect,” Tander said.
“Chad Neylon always asks fair and balanced questions.
“You’ve got to have a little bit of respect for the other people within the industry as well and how they’re going about their job.
“It’s his job to ask questions in the press conference.
“To not answer them like that, probably need to show a bit more respect. It’s a bit disappointing to hear that sort of behaviour from Shane.
“He is better than that.
“He doesn’t need to do that sort of stuff.”
The category now heads to Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix weekend at Albert Park, beginning March 30.