Helio Castroneves first to claim Surfers concrete
Helio Castroneves is the first international driver to have been caught out by the Surfers Paradise street circuit – crashing heavily in first practice this morning.
The three-time Indy 500 champion walked away from the Wilson Security Falcon FG after understeering into the concrete wall at turn 11.
Regular driver Tim Slade said that Castroneves apologised to the team over the radio for the incident.
“He was pretty disappointed with himself about it,” Slade told Speedcafe.com.au.
“He said over the radio that it was his fault and he should have gone up the escape road.
“It’s not what we really wanted, and our guys have a bit of work to do, but I think they’ll be able to get to back for the races.”
Prior to the accident, Castrovenes had been the fastest driver in Practice 2 – a session for international drivers only.
At the end of the 40 minute session, Andy Priaulx (TeamVodafone) was the fastest of the international stars, setting a time of 1m14.56s.
Sebastien Bourdais (Dick Johnson Racing), Will Power (FPR), Alex Tagliani (Rock Racing) and Dario Franchitti (Jim Beam Racing) rounded out the top five.
Dunlop Super Dealers driver Steve Richards set the fastest time in the morning session for ‘Primary’ drivers, setting a time of 1m13.0s.
The Brazilian is not the only man to have claimed the wall though. SP Tools driver John McIntyre, pairing with Shane van Gisbergen this weekend, collected the concrete around the back section of the track. The car will be repaired in time for the next session.
Worse, though, for American Scott Pruett. His team-mate Nathan Pretty crashed the #30 Gulf Western Oils Commodore VE in the first session and the car did not make it onto the track, keeping Pruett out of the seat.
See below for a Speedtv.com video with Castroneves and Slade from Queensland Raceway on Wednesday …