Bathurst 12 Hours red-flagged after huge crash

Weekend Racing Wrap

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Catch up on the weekend’s motorsport highlights including the huge crash which brought the Bathurst 12 hours to an early end, a thrilling Formula E race and more.

Bathurst 12 Hours

Audi tasted victory at the Mount Panorama circuit but a series of crashes including one which caused the race to be red-flagged provided the biggest talking point of the race. Ash Walsh spun his Audi R8 into a barrier and was struck at high speed by John Martin’s Mercedes. With just a few minutes left to run the race was stopped but race organisers later confirmed the drivers were “okay”.

The cars were brought to a stop at the start/finish area where Robin Frijns, Stuart Leonard and Dries Vanthoor celebrated a win which came about after another Audi, in the hands of Markus Winkelhock, Christopher Mies and Christopher Haase, came to a stop while leading. Second place went to the Mercedes of Kenny Habul, Tristan Vautier, Jamie Whincup and Raffaele Marciello while the Porsche 911 of Tim Pappas, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Luca Stolz and Marc Lieb completed the podium.

The race-ending crash was one of several dramas in the race. Audi driver Andrew Bagnall was hospitalised following an earlier crash which also led to the Porsche of Stephen Grove, Brenton Grove and Ben Barker receiving a one-minute penalty after hitting the Medical Car during a Safety Car period.

Formula E

Race 4: Santiago, Chile

Five cars ran nose-to-tail in the closing laps of the fourth race of the 2017-18 Formula E season but none were able to find a way past each other around the Santiago course. Jean-Eric Vergne and Andre Lotterer finished a one-two for Techeetah despite making contact as they disputed the lead. This would have caused consternation on the pit wall but a technical fault meant none of the teams were able to follow the actions on their screens.

Vergne’s win puts him on top in the drivers’ championship and also made Techeetah the first team to score a one-two finish, something which hadn’t happened in the 36 races since Formula E began in 2014. Sebastien Buemi took third ahead of former points leaders Felix Rosenqvist and Sam Bird, the top five covered by 4.4 seconds.

MRF Challenge

Races 13-16: Madras

Felipe Drugovich had to wait almost two months to put a lock on the MRF Challenge title but did so in the final round at Madras.

Rinus Van Kalmthout won the opener and race two went to Presley Martono after first-time pole sitter Aleks Karkosik spun out on lap one – the furious Polish driver thumped the ground with his fists after retiring. The final two rounds went to Drugovich, who will race in Euroformula Open with RP Motorsport this year.

Races one and two in video at 0:16.30 and 4:30.00.

Race of Champions

David Coulthard won the Race of Champions though no current F1 drivers entered this year’s race.

Also last weekend

Consistency continues to keep Marcus Armstrong at the top of the Toyota Racing Series points table. Despite not having won any of the last nine races, and seeing his podium streak some to an end at Taupo last weekend, the 17-year-old remains 33 points ahead of fellow Ferrari development driver Robert Shwarzman ahead of the championship’s final weekend.

Shwarzman won the final encounter at Taupo while Juan Manuel Correa and Brandon Leitch grabbed the other two wins. A trio of third places for Richard Verschoor keeps him in with a chance of taking the title at the final triple-header at Manfeild next weekend.

The Formula Four UAE championship returned to Yas Marina where David Schumacher won twice and the other wins were shared by Charlie Weerts and Caio Collet.

The highlights of last week’s Toyota Racing Series rounds can be found here.

Over to you

What racing action did you watch last weekend? Let us know in the comments.

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Bathurst 12 Hours, 2018
Bathurst 12 Hours, 2018

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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25 comments on “Bathurst 12 Hours red-flagged after huge crash”

  1. An accident is of course never wished but this one surely did settle the victory for the Audi, and secured second place for the Mercedes. Quite the anti-climax ending to another thrilling edition of the Bathurst race.

    Also, once more brilliant coverage of the entire race again. John and co. doing a very good job.

    Missed the FE race, I’m not the biggest fan, do love to watch the races occasionally but am not following the championship anymore. To me it’s a high level open wheel touring car series. I might be attacking several people here but if you take away all the crashes and touches you’d quickly see the fanbase drop even more,… not at all impressed by the quality of racing.

    1. @flatsix, there is another corollary that Keith should have added to the round up of the Formula E race, which was the fact that Techeetah and Dragon Racing have both been hit with fines after being found guilty of modifying the safety harnesses to speed up their pit stops – modifications which do seem to have worked quite effectively given Vergne recorded the fastest car change during that race.

      It’s a decision which has not gone down well with the other teams for multiple reasons. It seems that a few of the other teams had asked the stewards for permission to make modifications to the belts to make them easier to do up quickly, and were not given permission to do so – whilst the stewards confirmed that Techeetah and Dragon Racing didn’t ask them and just modified the belts without permission.

      Other teams, meanwhile, objected to teams being allowed to modify a homologated safety component – something the FIA would normally exclude a team from the results for, and the FIA did in fact state that “in other FIA series additions to the safety harnesses will not be tolerated”. However, in this case the FIA seem to have ruled that, as the modifications were well intentioned, exclusion from the results would be overly harsh and therefore it took a comparatively lenient course.

    2. I was surprised at the number of loose wheels I saw rolling down the track after a crash. I watched the video for about a minute and saw something like 5 loose wheels rolling down the track. I’m surprised they find it acceptable. I don’t like to say “This isn’t safe” because it may be there’s never been an incident involving a loose wheel, but it does look like an accident waiting to happen. What if a car crashes going up the hill at Bathurst, a wheel comes off, and then it starts to roll down the hill? I realise tethers can break, but if one did then you’d expect the commentators to say so and that there’d be a Stewards enquiry.
      Oh! And then we come to the car that crashed and was blocking half the track and there was no marshall to wave a yellow flag to warn approaching drivers, and unsurprisingly the inevitable happened: someone came around the corner and there was insufficent room to brake to avoid the crash. They don’t actually need a marshall every 100 metres or so like they do in F1, surely there’s a cheaper option that would suit saloon car racing. Again, one has to assume no one has been hospitalised in that type of incident because that would be the only way you could justify not having a way to ensure not warning approaching drivers there’s a car blocking the track.

  2. Agree FE is abysmal. It won’t last long. Manufacturers could run it behind closed doors and experiment with the cars being driverless, as long as it’s hidden away it would be for the best. Expanded GT series with proper cars like Bathurst would be a better use of the wasted driver talent in FE.

    1. All the manufacturers are joining in though, the 2018/19 season will see a new car which negates the need for a car change, and the series is building up speed like crazy. It’s naïve to still disregard FE as an abysmal attempt that won’t last long. It has already lasted long and is stronger than ever.

  3. How useful is MRF Challenge as a junior category? Does it give any good exposure?

    1. Well, noone has come through MRF to race in F1 yet. The most famous names to have raced fulltime in MRF is Jordan King, Mick Schumacher, Alice Powell, and Harrison Newey.

  4. Rallye Monte Carlo anyone?

    1. @mrboerns That took place last weekend, not this.

      1. damn, you’re serious?
        So much for situational awareness

  5. Race of Champions looks like a shadow of its former self. Sadly.

  6. Damn! That was heavy hit right there on Bathurst…

  7. That official Bathurts 12h race highlights video showed NO RACING at all; Not a single racing shot.
    It’s just a compilation of a dozen accidents, plus a pit and in-car shot.

    Terrible. I know there are always many accidents at Bathurst, but never thought that we would go back to the old days when fans only wanted to see accidents.

    1. And in the case of that final crash, both drivers seem to have had fairly nasty injuries – Bagnall is reported as being under supervision for potential concussion injuries after losing consciousness during that crash, whilst Walsh is reported as having been transferred to Sydney amid reports of broken ribs and a punctured lung.

      One factor that might have contributed to the number of accidents is the fact that, according to Jamie Whincup, multiple drivers in the paddock had been complaining about petrol and exhaust fumes building up in the cockpit during the race. Those fumes, coupled with high cockpit temperatures, appear to have caused quite a few drivers to start becoming quite disorientated during the race, resulting in an increased number of accidents.

      Fortunately, the only upside is that the organisers are reportedly taking action to improve the ventilation of the cockpits, so hopefully that shouldn’t be an issue in 2019.

  8. FlyingLobster27
    4th February 2018, 18:35

    Surprised Harrison Newey didn’t get a shout on here: he, with team-mates Stéphane Richelmi and Thomas Laurent, won the final race of the 2017-18 Asian Le Mans Series at Sepang for DC Racing x Jota, and became champions.

  9. Watched the FE race. First time i was actually able to watch it live.
    Besides the last few laps, i fellt like falling asleep. Commentators tried to make it more exciting than it was. My biggest issue watching these FE races is that noise. I can’t deal with that sound. Racing on these tracks is awful. Its like monaco. Only that its every race in FE. Plus a lot of pumped car style driving, which is the only way past apparently. I know there are many fans of this style of racing but I can’t see the entertainment of this series.

  10. There have been some terrible to watch races in Formula E, but this wasn’t one of them……all cars on the limit….overtaking….and despite the cars having suspension that moved, the bumpiest track I have ever seen still made them jump in the air…..and expected JEV to punch his team mate at the end
    I enjoyed the pit stops with the minimum time a driver had to wait abolished, although having just read seat belts on some cars were modified for an advantage( bending rules…could be F1 )..the sound I will probably never get used too…but they are getting better

    1. all cars on the limit

      @jop452 I really don’t agree with that. They’re as much as F1 saving energy throughout the race, and when the energy is safe they have no issues going far over the limit because they know there’s hardly a functional part of aero on their car. If anything hitting it off makes them faster as the car is lighter.

      With the gen2 I had really hoped they’d make a functional racecar but instead they’ve gone all show.

  11. Bathurst 12 h was a showcase of bad driving, making the amaeturs crashing at the Nordshleife look like Pro’s.
    More a demolition derby, than a race.
    The spectacular circuit kind of makes up for it.

    ROC, not interesting this year. Only a few names, i did!n’t even knew it was on.

    FE in Santiago was the best race of the weekend imho. Very tense 5 way battle for the lead on one of the best circuits so far. And Lotterer ignoring team orders to fight for the victory was great.
    This cars are so difficult to drive, with so little grip that they are always on the verge, despite saving energy all the time.

    1. Bathurst 12 h was a showcase of bad driving


  12. This highlights why Bathurst can not host a F1 race or even a F2. It is simply to narrow and to difficult to remove broken cars from the circuit. It is a great track, but unfortunately it’s had it’s day.

  13. That Formula E commentator must be on some heavy duty meds to scream like that….

  14. The passage of formula E through the streets of Santiago de Chile will leave the bitter recurrence of the destruction of a unique work of art.
    These car races in urban circuits are an attack on thousands of people who live in them and are victims of chaos, the discomfort of circulating, noise (not the engines in the case of formula E).
    A few local and foreign capitalists fill their pockets and those of the corrupt politicians who authorize these careers at the expense of the common citizen who is totally defenseless.
    The races of formula cars must run in the closed circuits, specially built for that purpose.
    Take a look:

  15. Bathurst 12 Hours. “Porsche hit the medical car” Wow, that’s a first. Sounds more like a demolition derby than a motor race..

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