Walkinshaw Racing has withdrawn Tim Slade’s #47 Holden from the Sydney Motorsport Park 400 after its heavy contact with David Reynolds’ Ford in Race 26.
The right-front corner of Slade’s car clipped the stranded Ford Performance Racing Falcon on the exit of Turn 3 on the opening lap, spectacularly sending the former onto two-wheels.
Slade missed the afternoon’s Race 27 as a result and, after further assessment this evening, the team has elected against an overnight repair ahead of Sunday’s 200km finale.
WR managing director Adrian Burgess says that the decision has been made on safety grounds.
“The top right-front damper mount and the bars that come through into the arch are crushed and split and there are a couple of other bars in the top of the A-pillar to the damper that are damaged,” he told Speedcafe.com of the damage.
“We could have done a patch fix but to be honest we’re not happy with the level of safety that we think we’d have with it.
“You can do a patch and go racing but if there was another incident there on that right-front corner, the wheel is going to tuck under it that much easier.
“The corner did a good job, it didn’t get to the pedal box and his feet, but if it happened again I wouldn’t have the same confidence it’d be safe.
“At the end of the day we’re not going to take any risks with the safety.
“The poor bugger can’t catch a trick at the moment, he’s just had a shocking run through no fault of his own,” added Burgess.
“This was a case of wrong place, wrong time and we’re all feeling for him and we’d love to get him back out, but it’s not worth the risk.”
With the remainder of the cars staying on at the circuit for a ride day on Monday, the team is organising for the damaged chassis to be transported back to its Melbourne headquarters tomorrow.
“It’ll be on the jig Monday and probably need at least four days of hard work,” said Burgess.
The incident means that Slade will now be given the ex-Garth Tander WR 019 chassis for the four-car squad’s September 1 and 2 test program at Winton.
The car, which has undergone the team’s latest upgrade in recent days, was scheduled to be handed over to Nick Percat for Winton and the upcoming endurance events.
While the change of plan is unavoidable for the test, Burgess says that a decision is yet to be made on which cars its driver combinations will run at the Wilson Security Sandown 500 later in the month.
Outside of Slade’s disaster, it was a mixed day for the Walkinshaw squad at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Garth Tander starred by driving from 14th on the grid to second in Race 26, but failed to finish the second encounter after contact with Todd Kelly.
Team-mate James Courtney finished eighth in each race after struggling for speed, while Nick Percat was turned around in both encounters on his way to 16th and 19th.