Christian Bakkerud has been thrown out of the rest of the GP2 Asia Series weekend in Malaysia after being accused of disobeying marshals' instructions after spinning in Saturday's feature race.

The Dane had been targeting his first points in the series after surviving the majority of a tricky wet-but-drying race, but a mistake while trying to bring slick tyres up to temperature put him off the road, and into conflict with the officials.

"On the restart, I was making good progress and had climbed back up to the fringes of the top ten when the circuit really dried out and it became obvious that slick tyres were required," he said, having escaped a first start pile-up with little more than a loss of position, "My stop went okay and I didn't lose any ground, but I struggled to bring the tyres up to temperature and as a result I made mistake and spun off.

"The marshals initially pushed me to a safer position and it was then that I asked one of them to see if they could bump start me as the engine had died when I spun off. It was difficult for them and they couldn't get enough speed to enable me to get the engine going again, so I had to park my car. And that was that - or so I thought..."

After the race was over, however, Bakkerud was summoned to appear before the stewards, who had raised a report in relation to the spin and bump start incident. To the Dane's surprise, the marshals had claimed that he had disobeyed their orders and, as a result, the stewards were left with little option but to penalise him, choosing to exclude the Super Nova driver from Sunday's sprint race.

"I'm flabbergasted because, when you spin off and the engine has died, you are clearly being controlled by the marshals," Bakkerud reflected, "All I have done is to request that, once I was in a safer position, that they would try to give me a push so that I could rejoin the race. Unfortunately, there seems to have been a communication problem and it's their word against mine, but the result is a massive blow for me and the Super Nova team.

"As drivers, we need to know where we stand when our cars go off the circuit and we require assistance from the marshals. You see this in Formula One, the classic example being Lewis Hamilton, who was craned out of the gravel trap and back into the race at last year's Grand Prix of Europe. This was accepted. Other drivers in the same gravel trap who asked for assistance were told to get out of their cars. Since then, there has been an attempt to clarify the rules, but I think it's clear from what happened to me today that there is still uncertainty and a great degree of unfairness."

Bakkerud also questioned the severity of his penalty.

"We all work so hard to try to achieve results and it clearly costs a lot of money to compete at this level," he sighed, "Sure, if a driver makes a mistake and transgresses a sporting regulation, then an appropriate penalty should be applied, but to exclude a driver from taking part in the next race for requesting a bump-start, is that really fair and appropriate?"

Super Nova was advised that any appeal would be unlikely to succeed, and warned that the cost of making an appeal would be a further EUR25,000, leaving Bakkerud relying on a change of heart from the stewards if he is to race.

 

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