Heavy shunt sours opening Bathurst 12H practice

Tony D'Alberto went second fastest before suffering a nasty shunt at Forest's Elbow

Tony D’Alberto went second fastest before suffering a nasty shunt at Forest’s Elbow

David Russell went quickest in the first practice session for the Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour which was cut short by a heavy shunt involving Tony D’Alberto.

Russell cracked a 2:05.92s to set the pace in the Lamborghini Gallardo LP600 GT3.

Mika Salo was the next best on a green track in 2:06.41s in the Maranello Motorsport 458 Ferrari Italia before handing it over to D’Alberto.

But D’Alberto’s run ended with a nasty crash at Forest’s Elbow which also included the #99 Craft Bamboo Aston Martin Vantage driven by Jean-Marc Merlin with both cars suffering significant damage.

D’Alberto was treated on the side of the circuit with the session red flagged with just over five minutes remaining before he was transferred to the medical centre for observation.

He was then taken to Orange hospital, just over 50km from Bathurst.

Jean-Marc Merlin was involved in a cash which stopped the opening practice session

Jean-Marc Merlin was involved in a cash which stopped the opening practice session’Tony is okay and they are just going through the precautionary checks,” Maranello Motorsport team manager Mark Coffey said.”He is in a neck brace and he says he has some pain in his shoulder so he will have an X-Ray but he is in good spirits though.”

The Maranello Motorsport team have already ruled out trying to fix the car.

“At this stage it is almost certain that the car is unrepairable so it looks like we will not be able to defend our Bathurst 12 Hour title,” Coffey said.

Wolfgang Reip was third fastest in the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 in 2:07.07.

Kiwi Jono Lester made a good fist of his first outing on the 6.2km track to claim fourth best in the Trass Family Motorsport Ferrari 458.

Lester’s 2:07.35 in the Ferrari which was hastily prepared overnight following its late arrival at the circuit, shaded Dean Canto (Erebus Mercedes SLS AMG) with Oliver Gavin sixth fastest in the Skwirk Audi R8 LMS.

Early in session the red flag came out when the IMAK Porsche suffered a crash at The Cutting with the team confident of repairing the damage to the front left ahead of Practice 2.



Join the discussion below in the Speedcafe.com comments section

Please note: Speedcafe.com reserves the right to remove any comment that does not follow the comment policy. For support, contact [email protected]