CALTEX HAVOLINE FORD WITHDRAWN FROM BOB JANE T-MARTS 1000 The ...
CALTEX HAVOLINE FORD WITHDRAWN FROM BOB JANE T-MARTS 1000
The #9 Caltex Havoline Ford has been withdrawn from this weekend's Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 after it was crashed heavily in practice at Mt Panorama today.
Wayne Gardner received his worst birthday present ever when he lost control of the Falcon at the end of Mountain Straight after apparent brake failure on his out lap in the first practice session of day.
Gardner, having his 43rd birthday, walked from the accident and was taken to the circuit's medical facility where he was kept under observation with a mild concussion.
The car suffered major structural damage and only panel not bent on the car was the bonnet.
The fact that Gardner was able to walk away from the incident is testimony to the construction of the SBR Falcon.
Gardner was to co-drive the car with young star David Besnard who was coming off a win at the VIP Petfoods Queensland 500 last month.
A decision was made to withdraw the car by team owners Ross and Jimmy Stone at 12.30pm because of safety concerns with the vehicle.
"We could have had a go at putting it back together, but it would have been a massive task," said Stone.
"We would have also had to make too many concessions in the restructure and would have been unsure of the race worthiness of the car.
"We were not prepared to put either of our drivers or other entrants in the field at risk.
"We are extremely disappointed for Ford and Caltex who have been such great supporters of our program
"It is also obviously very disappointing for Wayne and especially David, who has made great progress in the championship.
"We will now possibly be looking at a new car for the race at Indy in a couple of weeks time."
Gardner was obviously shaken after the incident.
"It don't really remember much," said Gardner. "It just got away on me. It looks as though a special brake valve inside the cockpit was knocked during my driver change.
"I cannot tell you how disappointed I am for the team, David (Besnard), Ford and Caltex."
The withdrawal is a major blow for Besnard who was hoping to continue his climb up the championship ladder from his current position of seventh.
"Things like this happen in the sport, but unfortunately it has happened to us here this weekend," said Besnard.
"We had been making great strides in the championship and I think we had a fantastic chance here this weekend after missing out a couple of years ago.
"I don't make a very good spectator."
The Stone Brothers Racing team will now concentrate all of its efforts on its Pirtek Ford entry, which is being driven by Marcos Ambrose and Paul Weel.
That car will now carry some Caltex Havoline signage for the remainder of the weekend.