Tony DeFelice’s brand new Ferrari 458 GT3 has been withdrawn from the Bathurst 12 Hour after sustaining heavy damage in the opening Class A practice session.
The drag racing identity, who had driven Ferraris in the Victorian State Series for the last two years, was halfway through his maiden lap of the Mount Panorama circuit when the accident occurred.
Restarting from a red flag period, DeFelice found himself on the outside of a three-wide squeeze with the Steve Wyatt-driven AF Corse Ferrari and the faster Dean Fiore-driven Equity-One Audi R8.
Contact between the left-front of Wyatt’s car and the right-rear of Fiore’s saw the AF entry swerve into DeFelice.
The Vicious Rumour Ferrari then tagged the outside wall before skipping through the gravel and making heavy contact with the fence for a second time.
DeFelice, who was to share the recently imported car with Tony D’Alberto, Dean Canto and Renato Loberto, described the incident as “my Bathurst dream turned into a nightmare”.
“The guys said take it easy, cruise around and get the nerves out of the way,” he told Speedcafe.com of the incident.
“There was an Audi (Fiore) in my mirrors flashing his lights and I stayed as far out of the way as I could to let him through because I didn’t want to take any risks.
“He passed and then I started to get back on the gas and all of a sudden felt this monumental bang from a Ferrari on my right-hand side. I smacked the wall and lost steering, and from there I was along for the ride.
“I tried to brake but when it skipped along the kitty litter and when it hit the fence it maxed the G force register, which is 5G. That’s when most of the damage was done.”
He added of the damage: “It’s damaged the front-clip so we’ll have to get a whole new front-end from Ferrari.
“It’s just a shame that on an out-lap drivers can’t be more patient.
“I saw the condition of the car and initially thought we might be able to fix it.
“At the time I had no idea there was three cars involved. When I saw the footage I though ‘oh Dean, what have you done’.”
Although admitting that he hadn’t fully taken into account the mixed experience level of the drivers involved, Fiore felt that he done nothing wrong.
“It was a very unfortunate incident because I gave myself plenty of room to do what I did,” Fiore told Speedcafe.com.
“After I’d made the move I wasn’t even thinking about it because it was job done as far as I was concerned.
“Then I felt a hit in the right-rear and I actually thought someone had thrown something from over the fence because I thought I was already clear of the car.
“I’m absolutely shattered for Tony because it’s wrecked his car and he was the innocent bystander.
“I believe that because it wasn’t the start of the session, it was the restart from an outlap, everyone has the right to pass,” he added.
“I don’t believe I did anything wrong. It’s just really unfortunate that he caught my right-rear.”
The Equity-One Audi escaped from the incident undamaged while the AF Corse team will miss second practice as they repair the front-end damage to their 458.