Slade car withdrawn following major crash

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 27/02/2021
  • By James Pavey

The Blanchard Racing Team has withdrawn Tim Slade's damaged car from the remainder of the Repco Mt Panorama 500 following his late-race crash at Mount Panorama.

Slade's hopes of a fairytale first-up podium vanished in a heartbeat following a high-speed accident at the Esses.

It had been a strong run to that point, with Slade recording a surprise front-row start for the race.

The 35-year-old lost control of his #3 CoolDrive Mustang trailing Will Davison, with his car lifting into the air upon impact.

He managed to steer the car to safety at the exit of Forrest's Elbow, but he cut a forlorn figure beside the track.

Team owner Tim Blanchard admitted his disappointment, but was pleased with his team's performance to the point of the accident.

"I kind of said to the boys before the race that we've done a lot more than we thought we'd been able to achieve this weekend, so whatever happened in the race is a bonus," he told the broadcast.

"Obviously not the way we wanted to finish, but we're five laps away from finishing in the top five in the first race.

"Three months ago we had nothing, we didn't even have a workshop so we've got to hold our heads high.

"Sladey was doing a fantastic job, Mirko [De Rosa, engineer], Brendan [Hogan, team manager], all the boys have done an awesome job all weekend and leading up to this.

"Disappointing but it's part of the process."

Red Bull Ampol Racing's Shane van Gisbergen went on to win the race, with Chaz Mostert and Davison rounding out the podium.

Speaking after the race, Slade explained how the accident happened, citing a downshift issue for the error.

"We were having a pretty solid race, lost the clutch there at the start of the race, hence the bad start," he said.

"We had a pretty speedy car and didn't really have much more to get past Will there.

"I went to downshift in the normal spot, and it went into a sort of neutral, and I went to grab it again and it's gone two gears at once.

"It's gone to first instead of second, and sort of compression-locked the rears and sent me into the fence.

"I'm absolutely shattered for the rest of the team."

The two-time race winner conceded that his car won't take the grid for Sunday's action.

"It was a pretty massive hit. I doubt we can fix it," he said.

"It's just a massive credit to the CoolDrive Auto Parts Blanchard Racing Team guys for everything up until this point.

"I feel absolutely shattered for them."

The Repco Supercars Championship field will return to the track for ARMOR ALL Qualifying at 10:05am AEDT on Sunday. Tickets are on sale now.

This weekend's event will be broadcast live on Foxtel and the Seven Network, and will be streamed on Kayo. Check out the full TV schedule here.

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