A shocking accident for Toyota 86 entrant Craig Thornton forced repairs to the Turn 8 Armco barriers at Sandown, delaying Supercars Practice 3 at the Penrite Oil Sandown 500.
With just under four minutes remaining in Toyota 86 qualifying, Thornton lost control of his #71 entry at the exit of the fast left-hander Turn 6, overcorrected, and crashed heavily at the exit of Turn 8.
The heavy impact severely damaged the barriers, with Thornton’s car making contact at high speed.
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Thornton exited his damaged car under his own steam, but gingerly made his way to safety, the accident clearly leaving its mark.
At first glance, the impact bent the barrier, but later inspections revealed a pillar had to be removed and replaced ahead of the final Supercars session of the day. Repairs took longer than expected, with the Supercars session delayed by over 40 minutes.
The notorious Turn 6 section underwent significant upgrades ahead of this weekend’s event, with a tarmac run-off area extended and angled, and a four-tyre deep barrier was placed in front of a new concrete wall, complete with catch-fencing.
The section caught out several drivers across all categories on Friday as they pushed to find the limit, with more margin for error available with no grass verge at the apex of Turn 7.
Notably, Jamie Whincup beached the #888 Red Bull Holden in Practice 2 at the Turn 9 sandtrap as a direct consequence of carrying too much speed through Turn 6.
Several other drivers either straightlined the corner or eventually slid off at Turn 9, including Chaz Mostert and Scott Pye at the end of Practice 2.