Audi crashes, burns, and wins on the streets of Macau
We all know that motorsport is dangerous. It's printed on the back of every ticket and every media pass, and is one of the concepts that sets the sport apart from many others.
However the sport is reaching a level of safety where the vast majority of incidents are predictable and safe. Even the most solid of hits can be countered by advances in roll-cage and energy-absorption technology, as evidenced by just about every savage Nascar crash we've seen this year.
But, we can't get complacent about things. As safety increases so does speed, and with that we see more and more crashes with bizarre circumstances. Crashes like Laurens Vanthoor's incredible spill at the Macau Grand Prix weekend just yesterday.
Engaged in a dice with New Zealander Earl Bamber, Vanthoor conceded his position to the Porsche pilot with 15 minutes remaining in the race.
The whole race weekend had been full of crashes up to that point, with the TCR touring car series build-up races taking a whopping four hours to process their two races after crashes upon crashes hobbled their progress.
Then came the FIA GT World Cup. An early crash for Australia's Ricky Capo delayed proceedings for more than half an hour as teams rallied to fix the barrier on the outside of the final corner.
But as soon as the race restarted it was over, as Vanthoor decided to turn his GT3 car into a plane.
Losing the race lead to Bamber, Vanthoor clipped the inside wall with the faintest of touches — faint enough though to canon his car into the outside wall with force.
Slapping the wall rear first, Vanthoor's front wheel then rode up the wall and — in a scene eerily similar to those of Jann Mardenborough's crash at the Nürburgring Nordschleife that claimed the life of a spectator — the Audi flew into the air before flipping onto its lid at almost 200kmh.
Thankfully, unlike many other ‘freak’ crashes, the driver was able to get out of the car unaided to tell the tail. Vanthoor was also crowned the winner of the race shortly after, as per traditional red flag rules, which state that the car which lead the previous full lap of competition is awarded the win.
While many worldwide have shown confusion and salt in the wake of the crash, those in Australasia have seen it all before — notably when Jim Richards and Mark Skaife were awarded victory at the 1992 Bathurst 1000 despite Richards crashing just prior to the red flag that ended the race.