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Reynolds not driven to distraction

Political correctness has never been a strong suit for V8 Supercars driver David Reynolds.

A determination to say what comes to his mind has landed him in hot water more than once during his career, as it did at last year's Bathurst 1000 when he copped a $25,000 fine for referring to the car being driven by the all-female crew of Renee Gracie and Simona De Silvestro as the "pussy wagon".

The comment was labelled "unacceptable and disgraceful" by V8 Supercars chief executive James Warburton at the time.

But what many people weren't aware of was that Reynolds had gone out of his way to help the pair prepare for the big race, and simply got it wrong in his attempt to be funny.

He ended up leaving the Prodrive team at the end of the season after it was unable to confirm its line-up for 2016 early enough to give him the chance to find another home if he ended up being shown the door.

Somewhat ironically, but perhaps not surprisingly, he found an ally in Team Erebus Motorsport owner Betty Klimenko, an eccentric character who described Reynolds' "pussy wagon" line as a "great joke", but just made at the wrong time.

"Betty is an amazing person, and that's just the type of character we both are - we both like to make light of all situations," he told Australian Regional Media.

"I am of the opinion that someone is going to have a problem with me, regardless of what I say, so I need to embrace my personality.

"I enjoy talking to people who have a different take on life."

Not long after signing for Erebus, Klimenko made the announcement the team was switching from Mercedes to Holden for the 2016 season.

 

David Reynolds wins when a driver for Bottle-o Racing at the ITM 500 Auckland last November. Photo: AAP Image/Edge Photographics
David Reynolds wins when a driver for Bottle-o Racing at the ITM 500 Auckland last November. Photo: AAP Image/Edge Photographics

 

After sitting in a Ford for the past four years, Reynolds - who finished the 2015 driver's championship in third place behind Mark Winterbottom and Craig Lowndes - struggled with the switch at this season's opener in Adelaide last weekend, finishing 14th and 19th in the first two races, before coming in fifth in Sunday's race which was hit by a torrential downpour.

"Initially in testing it was a little confronting," Reynolds said.

"The last team I was on, I was there four years, so I knew everything well.

"All the idiosyncrasies of a new car - it's going to take a while to adjust this time."

And when asked just exactly how long, Reynolds maintained his customary "left-field" humour.

"It could take me six months to understand everything in this new car," the 30-year-old said.

"I just said six months because it's a nice round number."

While his actual goal is to get up to speed as quickly as possible, he said he had also set a target of not getting into trouble like he had in the past.

"Sometimes you have to tone it down," he said.

"My goal for this year is to not get into trouble with the stewards or for anything - I've already paid my dues."

Despite that, he was quick to speak up about an issue close to his heart - the banning of grid girls at Adelaide's Clipsal 500 - from next year and beyond.

His view on the matter is hardly surprising when you consider his girlfriend is former Big Brother contestant and grid girl Tahan Lew Fatt.

"I don't know the statistics, but with the grid girl saga you've got 190,000 people in favour of them, and they're banning them because maybe 200 people have written letters saying it's inappropriate," he said.

"So they're catering for a small number of people."

When it comes to David Reynolds, it seems the more things change the more they stay the same.



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