BTCC qualifying cancelled after 11-car crash – UPDATED

Two drivers cut out of cars after high-speed accident.

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Qualifying for the fifth meeting of the British Touring Car Championship at Croft was abandoned after 11 cars were caught up in a high-speed accident caused by oil dropped on the wet track.

The crash happened with around eight minutes of the half-hour session complete. The Motorbase Ford Focus of Luke Davenport went straight on at Barwell corner and came to rest on the racing line. It appeared oil had been dropped on the sodden track surface as several other cars flew off the track at high speed.

Major damage

MG driver Aron Taylor-Smith was briefly knocked unconscious, while marshals had to cut Jeff Smith and Davenport out of their cars – the Focus having been hit at least three times. Others suffering major damage included the BMW of Andrew Jordan and the pole-position holding Subaru Levorg of Ashley Sutton.

Davenport, Smith and Taylor-Smith were all taken to the medical centre and after a long delay it was decided the oil on the circuit would not allow qualifying to resume. “It was best to call the session,” said series head Alan Gow, after inspecting the track with current champion Gordon Shedden.

The grid for Sunday’s first race will be set from the times set before the session was stopped. This places the Subaru of Ashley Sutton on pole position, with Colin Turkington’s BMW alongside. The second row lines up Matt Jackson’s Ford alongside Shedden’s Honda, with the third row consisting of both MGs – team returnee Josh Cook ahead of Taylor-Smith.

The BTCC later confirmed that all three drivers taken to hospital had suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries. Taylor-Smith suffered a fracture to his left leg and concussion but was released the same evening. Both Davenport and Smith remained in intensive care, in serious but stable condition. Davenport was in an induced comas with multiple chest injuries, lung damage, broken right leg, broken pelvis, broken right arm and concussion. Smith has multiple chest injuries, extensive shoulder injuries, broken left arm and concussion.

Conditions were difficult at Croft all day. Photo: PSP Images

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.

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1 COMMENT

  1. The TV pictures were inconclusive, but I can’t understand how you can have 11 cars crash in qualifying, leaving some drivers with massive injuries. Given that it was wet and visibility was poor, why was the red flag not thrown much sooner?
    Surely at least some of those later crashes could have been avoided, rather than the cars already crashed being hit over and over again as more drivers came steaming in.
    Best wishes to Davenport and Smith, but I would have thought that the BTCC needs to have a good, hard look at itself over this.

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