The possibility of an all-Aussie victory was shattered at 7.33pm in the Race of a Thousand Years when drama struck for the #12 Panoz with Greg Murphy at the wheel.
"I went to turn into the left hander coming into Victoria Park and the car went straight on," Murphy said. "I tried to pull out and steer it into the gravel trap and but it wouldn't turn on the grass and went straight into the tyre barrier. I really don't know what happened. It didn't feel like I made a mistake, but I can't work out why it wouldn't turn in."
The Panoz team began a frantic repair job, replacing the the left front suspension and bodywork. Jason Bright climbed back aboard the car just after 8.00pm in 10th position.
The dramatic incident came after Emanuele Pirro hit the wall at Banana Bend while trying to pass the Konrad Lola.
Pirro got out of the car to inspect the damage, before driving it back to the pits. Further problems later struck after the car made it back onto the circuit when the front splitter failed.
Class leaders remained unchanged after four hours with Olivier Beretta holding the GTS lead in the Viper and Lucas Luhr continuing strongly in GT aboard his Porsche GT3-R.
<pre> RESULTS - HOUR FOUR
PROTOTYPE DIVISION 1. Dindo Capello, Audi 151 laps
2. Mimmo Schiatarella, Lola 142 laps
3. Franz Konrad, Lola 136 laps
GTS DIVISION 1. Olivier Beretta, 4th outright Chrysler Viper 134 laps
2. Jean Phillipe Belloc, 5th Chrysler Viper 134 laps
3. Milka Duno, 11th Chrysler Viper 126 laps
GT DIVISION 1. Lucas Luhr 6th outright Porsche GT3-R 134 laps
2. Randy Pobst 8th Porsche GT3-R 131 laps
3. Bill Auberlen 10th BMW M3 127 laps