Australian GT drivers escape qualifying accident
Lamborghini drivers Danny Stutterd and Jan Jinadasa have escaped unscathed from a frightening incident during the Australian GT Championship’s opening qualifying session at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Stutterd, this weekend standing in for Ross Lilley in his Lamborghini Gallardo, spun while rounding Corporate Hill during the closing stages of the 20-minute session before being struck by Jinadasa.
Several drivers subsequently experienced near-misses as they negotiated the blind sweeper, most spectacularly Nathan Antunes who slalomed between a number of cars at high speed.
Porsche driver Simon Ellingham also spun in the melee, rotating just in front of Jinadasa’s stranded Lamborghini.
“Coming over Corporate Hill, the car got loose, the rear stepped out, I slid down and made a bit of smoke in trying to stay off walls,” Stutterd told Speedcafe.com.
“Jan Jinadasa hit me on the back on the right-rear wheel, and obviously he just couldn’t see a thing, it was all smoke, and that was it.”
Stutterd, whose car is expected to be repaired and contest the weekend’s two races, added that being driver’s side to the approaching traffic “was the scariest thing.”
Damage to Jinadasa’s car has meanwhile left him to withdraw.
“I think he (Stutterd) went a couple of ways and then at the end I thought he was stationary but he was rolling back and I just clipped it with the front right (corner),” he lamented.
Ellingham and Antunes, who were lucky not to also come to grief, both noted a lack of warning in the form of yellow flags.
“I was right up behind Tony Quinn in his McLaren,” said Ellingham.
“I think he was on an in lap because he wasn’t going that fast and then all of a sudden he’s hard on the brakes and I just locked the rears and spun out.
“You can usually see it (the marshalling point, far to the outside of the corner) but if you’re right behind another car with a huge wing it’s hard to get any vision.”
Antunes meanwhile was unequivocal about the lack of yellow flags.
“To be honest, there were no flags or anything,” the Sydneysider claimed.
“The moment I saw the exit there were three or four cars across the track and I just picked a gap.
“I made sure I kept the pace up because I knew that if I slowed down too much I’d spin myself , so I just kept the aero solid, kept the gas on, and drove through the gap.”
The session was topped by the Michael Hovey/Matt Campbell Ginetta ahead of the Christopher Mies Audi, which is now being co-driven by Ryan Millier following former partner Greg Crick’s recent retirement.
Grant Denyer escaped a clash with the Turn 7 tyre barriers early in the session to put the Maranello Ferrari eighth.
His co-driver Tony D’Alberto has withdrawn from the meeting to return to Melbourne, where his wife Steffanie is due to give birth to the couple’s first child.
Qualifying 2 is scheduled for 15:00 AEST ahead of tomorrow’s opening one-hour race at 12:45.