Emotional Erebus boss breaks silence over Kostecki row

Joanna Guelas |

It is not clear whether Brodie Kostecki will hit the racetrack again under the Erebus banner.
It is not clear whether Brodie Kostecki will hit the racetrack again under the Erebus banner.

An emotional Erebus Motorsport boss Barry Ryan has discussed the ongoing contract dispute with reigning Supercars champion Brodie Kostecki.

Alongside team owner Betty Klimenko, Ryan addressed the dramatic off-season fall-out on Friday for the first time since Erebus announced Kostecki would not race the season-opening Bathurst 500 in January.

Endurance driver Todd Hazelwood will take Kostecki’s spot at Mount Panorama this weekend, alongside new recruit Jack Le Brocq.

Klimenko and Ryan did not comment on the nature of the dispute, leaving a question mark over whether Kostecki will hit the racetrack again under the Erebus banner.

“It’s still ‘TBA’. We respect Brodie’s privacy and we’ll see where it comes to in the next week or two,” Ryan told Fox Sports.

“It’s not up to us yet.”

Klimenko added: “It’s not in our hands.”

Erebus Motorsport owner Betty Klimenko.
It has been an emotional time for Erebus Motorsport owner Betty Klimenko. (Brendan Esposito/AAP PHOTOS)

Ryan became emotional and struggled to hold back tears when asked about the fall-out.

“At the end of last year, we were on top of the world. Everybody believed in us,” Ryan said.

“To have people that decided that they didn’t believe in us anymore, that hurts.

“There’s been so much hate, and I’m not that sort of person. I’m not a bully.

“And these will be (seen as) fake tears by social media. I’m prepared for all that.”

Klimenko and Ryan have copped criticism from all corners since the news broke of Kostecki’s absence from the season opener.

Three-time Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen labelled the row a “sad situation” for Kostecki, while former competition powerbroker Roland Dane accused Erebus of being a “toxic workplace”.

A number of sponsors – including Coca-Cola, Shaw and Partners and Southern Cross Truck Rentals – also withdrew their support.

“(The record) will be set straight at some point. That’s not what matters,” Klimenko told Fox Sports.

“What matters is that we respect Brodie’s privacy. We respect the fact that we can’t say anything and we’ve just had to take this on.”

Trouble on the racecourse came early for Erebus during Friday’s first practice session after Le Brocq pulled over with an oil pressure problem just seconds after leaving pit lane.

Le Brocq was ruled out of the session while his team mopped oil off the garage floor.

Triple Eight’s Will Brown, a former Erebus driver, was the fastest in the two practice runs with a 2:07.550 lap time, pipping Broc Feeney by 0.405 seconds.

Qualifying for Saturday’s race begins at 10.20am (AEDT) followed by a top ten shootout at 1.05pm (AEDT).

Race one is scheduled for 4:10pm (AEDT).

AAP