Formula Ford driver Courtney Prince has been handed a $6,000 fine for her part in a three-car crash at Sandown last weekend.
Prince was competing in Australian Formula Ford, which shared the weekend with the Victorian State Championship, when she was involved in a clash with Jake Donaldson and Matthew Holmes.
The three cars came together at the rise on the back straight, the incident taking the trio out of the race and forcing the chequered flag to be shown early.
“The incident occurred as three cars pulled out of the slipstream going up the back straight,” Formula Ford category manager Iccy Harrington told Speedcafe.com.
“They were three wide heading up to the top of the back straight and the car on the left hand side inexplicably moved right and made contact with the middle car, which then forced the other car off the track and the three of them ended up in the fence and ran down into the tyre barrier.
“Fortunately no one was hurt, they all walked away from it which is a testament to the strength of the cars,” he added.
“We had two manufacturers involved in Mygale and Spectrum; all three cars sustained extreme amounts of damage, but a testament to their strength no one was injured.”
Prince subsequently received a $6,000 fine, $5,000 of which is suspended for 13 months, and was excluded from the weekend.
The incident came after Prince had been excluded from Race 2 for a number of altercations, though Harrington was keen to point out that the incidents were uncharacteristic of the season so far.
“The standard of racing this year has been extremely high, and the teams do a fantastic job of nurturing these young drivers, but unfortunately it all goes wrong sometimes,” he said.
“In this case it was at the top of the back straight at Sandown, where there’s not a lot of run off, and we’ve seen in many other categories where it bites cars hard, the results are high, or extreme.
“It’s very disappointing for us that the offending driver was involved in other incidents in Race 2 and was reprimanded with a race exclusion and a points penalty, and then went on to cause this major incident.
“Sadly as a result of the damage to the Donaldson and Holmes cars, it will have a major impact on their budgets and leave a question mark as to whether they will be able to compete again this year.”
Sonic team boss Mick Ritter, who runs Prince in the series, said that he will sit down with the teenager and talk about the incident as part of their weekend debrief.
“It was a sizeable incident in which she (Prince) sustained the biggest impact of the three,” Ritter told Speedcafe.com.
“For us, we’re reviewing all of that now but the most important thing is that she’s come out of it without a scratch, she’s good as gold, which for us is far and away the most important thing.
“At the end of the day we’re doing reviews and our usual post event debriefs with her and the other drivers this week, and that’s clearly going to be part of that discussion.”
The weekend was claimed by Zac Soutar, the privateer taking out his maiden Formula Ford round success.
The fifth round of Australian Formula Ford takes place at The Bend Motorsport Park in support of the OTR Supersprint from August 24-26.