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Red Bull owner whacks departing Lacroix

AAP logoAAP 4/11/2016 Ben McKay

Red Bull Racing owner Roland Dane has taken a swipe at defecting Supercars engineer Ludo Lacroix, accusing his long-time lieutenant of being "duplicitous".

Triple Eight announced Lacroix's departure from the powerhouse outfit this week, with the prodigiously-talented operator reportedly agreeing to join up-and-coming rival Supercars team DJR Team Penske in 2017.

In the latest sign of animosity between the sport's undisputed leaders and the cashed-up Ford upstarts, Dane couldn't resist criticising his technical director on his way out.

"It was news to us this week where he was going. That was duplicitous, but that's to be expected in this business," he told Fox Sports from Pukekohe ahead of this weekend's meet.

Dane contrasted Lacroix's departure to fellow ex-Red Bull engineer Adrian Burgess' move to Holden Racing Team three years earlier.

"It's what happens when you're at the top of the category as we have been for a decade. People are going to come and try and steal people from you," he said.

"It doesn't surprise me when someone comes along with more money and wants to spend it.

"I've known that Ludo was wanting to leave and ... I'm very comfortable with that decision.

"The relationship has run its course. It's been very good for us."

With Lacroix placed on gardening leave by Red Bull and not in New Zealand for the season's penultimate meet, soon-to-be employers DJR Team Penske declined to comment on the matter.

Speaking after practice on Friday, Red Bull driver Jamie Whincup appeared to be moving on from the decision.

"We miss Ludo but that's the way it goes," he said.

Lacroix has been one of the key figures in Red Bull's dominance of the sport.

Should Shane van Gisbergen or Jamie Whincup claim this year's title as expected, the team will have won all but two of the past nine drivers titles - and eight team titles in that same stretch.

Lacroix was given a role as Craig Lowndes' race director during 2016 as the outfit expanded to three cars.

His most memorable moment this year was masterminding a two-stop strategy in Perth that allowed car No.888 to roar through the field from 22nd position for one of Lowndes' two victories this year.

At DJR Team Penske, Lacroix will work with Kiwi pair Fabian Coulthard and new signing Scott McLaughlin.

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