Mark Skaife was left to console an emotional Russell Ingall after a heavy crash took the two Supercars legends out of the Bathurst 12 Hour.
Once fierce rivals in Supercars, the duo had combined for the GT endurance race as part of an entry put together by fellow former Bathurst 1000 winner Tony Longhurst.
Amid a series of incidents for rivals over the opening hours, the veterans and their BMW factory co-driver Timo Glock had worked their way into the top five before a loose bonnet dropped the car off the lead lap.
Looking to make up for lost time at the race’s halfway mark, Ingall clipped the wall on the right-hand-side on the way through The Esses, which fired the car hard into the concrete on the opposite side.
The two-time Bathurst 1000 winner was visibly distraught after the incident as he stood by the stricken car.
“I just came up behind another car - we actually had a reasonable pace going - and basically I just tagged the wall on the inside just before the Dipper,” explained Ingall.
“I was right up behind the other car and lost track of how much real estate I had on the inside. I was trying to line him up for the Elbow, but that is life - just a simple mistake.
“Hitting the inside wall must have broke the steering, which fired it into the outside wall - that was it - lights out.
“it is a real disappointment to finish like this - but it is just a typical Bathurst deal - when this place kicks you in the guts, it kicks you pretty good.
“I don’t think I’ve had too many walks back from this place, I think this is one of my first and I can tell you, it doesn’t feel very good.”
The crash ended Skaife’s high-profile racing return, which came more than five years after his final Supercars start at Bathurst.
“I really feel sorry for Russell, it was just a very slight mistake which is an easy one to make in that part of the track, the car sliding down through the esses and bumping the fence on the inside,” he said.
"It could happen to any of us, in fact I’ve done it before myself, so it is just one of those things that happen when you are pressing on. At that stage of the race, we were looking for a Safety Car.
"If we got the Safety Car, we were coming in for four new tyres and to fill up and we would have been back on the lead lap.
“When you are looking for a Safety Car like that, you just don’t know what’s going to happen and unfortunately, we caused the Safety Car that we were looking for.”