Lowndes: No warning before tyre failure
- By Stefan Bartholomaeus
- Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
Craig Lowndes says he had no warning before the tyre failure that triggered a heavy crash in opening practice at Phillip Island.
The 40-year-old’s Holden made heavy side-on contact with the tyre wall after a right-front tyre went down at the 230km/h approach to Lukey Heights.
Click here for the full Practice 1 report and results.
“It gave no warning,” recounted Lowndes.
“We went through the Hayshed flat like we normally do, but as we came out of the right transitioning to the left, the front-right just let go.
"I didn't feel anything, so we'll have to investigate and see what's gone on. It' a shame, because we were making progress today.”
Lowndes said he was a passenger the moment the car hit the grass, which was still damp from morning rain.
“With all the rain you get onto the grass and it becomes an ice-skating rink,” he said.
"We actually skipped across the gravel trap pretty quick and of course the only thing left is the earth wall.
"We're okay, just have to see how the car is. I know it went in backwards, well right-rear then of course it slapped the front.
“It pushed the front across. We have to have a look at the rails and have a look at what the rest of the car looks like.”
Engineer John McGregor said the team will attempt to fix the damage prior to the afternoon’s second session, which starts in less than two hours.
It will also investigate the cause of the tyre failure, which occurred moments after a similar issue on Fabian Coulthard’s Shell V-Power Ford.
Coulthard’s tyre let go through Turn 3, with the Kiwi able to arrest the car before it made the tyre wall.
"From the telemetry anyway it looks like the tyre pressure just dropped straight to zero,” said McGregor of Lowndes’ issue.
"Whether it was a puncture or delamination, we're not too sure at the moment.
"But definitely front right tyre is the issue. It went straight on.”