Australia team principal Alan Jones has signalled his displeasure at an incident in the pit lane during the A1 Grand Prix feature race at Durban that put Karl Reindler into retirement following a mistake by Netherlands' 'lollypop' man to let Jeroen Bleekemolen out of his box too early.

Although not next to each other on the track, in Netherlands hastiness to get Bleekemolen back out on track after the Dutchman hauled his car into second place, the lollypop was raised just as Reindler trundled past, the incident causing irreparable damage to the Australian's rear suspension and putting him out.

Bleekemolen continued in an effective second place with no damage but was soon called into the pit lane again for a drive-through penalty as a result, dropping him to sixth place where he would remain to the finish, adding five points to the three he managed in the sprint race.

Jones though was upset that the incident was allowed to happen, particularly as Reindler had gotten himself into the top ten following the carnage at the start.

"It's just a shame that we survived the first corner, and the seven or eight laps, to be taken out in the pits and it's just so unnecessary," he said. "I can only assume it was the Dutch lollipop man, not the driver, who told his driver to go and I don't know why because there were several cars right on him and if he was signalling to go at that point it was stupidity."

Both Bleekemolen and Netherlands team principal Jan Lammers accepted the blame was with the team, but at the same time were disappointed with the loss of a potential podium.

"It is a shame, because we did show that we were quick, but it did not pay off," Bleekemolen said. "As the pitstop the board went up and off course I floored the throttle that is the sign that you are paying attention to. It may be stupid, but it happens.

"I was glad the car was still going after that and that we were able to get points. You can easily come out in twelfth after a drive through and outside the points."

"It is a terrible bummer though what happened at the pitstop," Lammers added. "That is a shame and has hindered Jeroen in showing how good he really was. The lollypop went up too early. You cannot send anyone out when there is traffic in the pitlane. We will have to learn from this."

 

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