With little over seven minutes remaining in the session, Pye clipped the inside wall at Turn 7 and fired into the outside in an accident reminiscent of Chaz Mostert’s car-cruncher on the Gold Coast last season.
Pye’s #20 DeWalt ZB Commodore felt the full brunt of the incident, with the car suffering front right damage from the first impact before copping heavy left-hand side damage in the second.
The acute crash angle will leave Team 18 guessing as to how much damage the car sustained, with Practice 3 to take place at 6:30pm AEDT.
Earlier, Will Davison beached the #23 Milwaukee Mustang in the Turn 11 gravel after he carried too much pace into the corner, with the two-time Bathurst winner overcorrecting before running long.
Davison’s car gently nudged the tyre barrier with the left-front, before he resumed – and later popped in a 1:19.8974s to fall short of van Gisbergen’s 1:19.8079s, which was set on his 14th and final flying lap.
Whincup made it a Red Bull Holden sandwich, with Cameron Waters (#6 Monster Mustang) the only other driver into the 1m19s barrier with a 1:19.9969s.
An all-out crack at glory, followed by a balls-out post-mortem, this one including profanity in an interview with the world feed.
This particular win no only gave birth to Miller’s status as Australia’s new hope in the post-post-Casey Stone era, but also a rivalry with the younger Marquez which is set to be reborn once the 2020 season commences.
Miller and Marquez broke away in the opening laps at the Local circuit, and swapped places for much of the race. As is the case with Grand Prix motorcycle racing, the result is never a formality until they all cross the line.
The duo looked to have had the edge over their rivals, but the chasing pack crept ever closer as the race wound down.
Suddenly, with a battle pack all hungry to kickstart the new season with a win, Miller and Marquez had a fight beyond their own – but it was the Spaniard who cracked first, running wide on the final lap to see the Aussie take his first podium on the top step.
It broke a drought across all classes, with Miller becoming the first non-Spanish rider to win a Grand Prix in any class since Scott Redding won the 2013 Moto2 race at Silverstone.
Just over two years later, Miller would claim a maiden premier class win in a Dutch TT thriller, before ending the 2019 season for Pramac Racing with a number of podiums to throw his name up in lights.
However, the casual Aussie we see in 2020 took centre stage in 2014 on that day in Qatar, and he was beside himself, evening throwing a swear word – and subsequent apology – in the mix.
“It’s incredible, that last lap was a little bit scary to be honest,” he said after the race.
“Alex and I pushed so hard those first early laps. The tyres weren’t as good as I thought they would last.
“I was trying to work for the slipstream on the last lap, and then Alex had his moment.
“I had to go, ‘F**k it, I’ll go alone’. I pushed it and it worked beautifully.
“I can’t thank the team enough, first race, first podium, first victory, it’s incredible.
As world sports leagues prepare for wholesale changes to their 2020 schedules amid COVID-19-induced delays, Supercars is aiming to have “minimum disruption” to this season’s remaining scheduled events.
Last week, Supercars announced the postponement of the Tasmania, New Zealand and Perth events in response to virus containment measures made by state and federal governments.
As it stands, the next event on the 2020 calendar is the Winton Super400 across June 5-7. From there, it may get tricky considering the fluidity of the virus outbreak – the Townsville 400, which will require a planned street circuit build, is scheduled be held across June 26-28.
Formula 1 has already moved on two upcoming street events, with Monaco (May 22-24) cancelled and Azerbaijan (June 5-7) postponed. The Australian Grand Prix, held on Melbourne’s Albert Park streets, was cancelled mid-event.
With some states closing their borders and others tightening containment and prevention measures, the three postponed events may not be alone further down the line.
“We’re obviously talking to the management of all the race tracks in Australia as part of the calendar changes that we’re making,” Seamer said.
“That includes discussions with Phillip Island, but it would be too early to speculate exactly which tracks would be in as part of the rescheduled calendar.”
With Adelaide completed, Albert Park cancelled and Tasmania, New Zealand and Perth postponed, there are nine race weekends still remaining in their current slots. Three year-end marquee events – the Bathurst 1000, Gold Coast 600 and Newcastle 500 – will all require street circuit-type attention, just like Townsville.
Darwin (July 17-19), Sydney Motorsport Park (August 28-30), The Bend Motorsport Park (September 18-20) and Sandown (November 20-22) are all permanent facilities and could possibly be reshuffled without too much disruption.
Supercars also has the luxury of moving events around in its existing six-week break which was centred on the Summer Olympics, which is set to be postponed to 2021.
Seamer wasn’t keen on moving the marquee events from their slots, but despite the moving feast that is the virus, said fans “can expect an updated calendar in a couple of weeks”.
“Our priority is to have minimum disruption to any events that haven’t been postponed,” Seamer explained.
“What we’re looking to do is find a new date for the events that have been postponed, without having to change any of the other plans for the back half of the year.
“Because we’re conscious that our fans, our partners and our volunteers have already made plans around those dates… key events like Bathurst, Gold Coast, Newcastle require significant set-up times.
“Our ambition is to minimise any disruption to those key events and not move those dates.”
The accident brought Mount Panorama to a standstill, and never-before-seen footage – released on Supercars Life on Monday night – has also brought to light the crucial role of the category’s Permanent Medical Delegate Dr Carl Le.
One of the first on the scene, Dr Le – who has been involved with the category since 2008 – was responsible for providing a trauma service for Mostert in the immediate aftermath of the accident.
Attending to the Mostert accident marked another chapter for the experienced Dr Le, who is based in Melbourne and has completed Ironman challenges. He first volunteered at the Albert Park circuit in 1997 for the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix. He eventually became the chief medical officer at Phillip Island circuit, and has also performed the same role at the Singapore Grand Prix in 2008 and have continued with this role.
At the very least, at a race meeting once the lights go green, Dr Le is in the passenger seat in the medical car. In the event of a driver being unable to get out of the car following an accident, Dr Le is scrambled by race control to attend the scene and help the driver.
What makes Dr Le’s role so critical is that he is familiar with the drivers and the cars, which allows for a standardisation of his services across all events. In Mostert’s case – as seen on Supercars Life – Dr Le was informed the driver had suffered a suspected leg break.
The footage shown in the Supercars Life episode is taken from a mounted GoPro on Dr Le’s helmet. There, he is seen arriving at the scene and is briefed about possible injuries to Mostert.
When arriving on the scene, Dr Le will already have an understanding on what he and safety crews will be dealing with. Notably, in the event of a serious accident – like Mostert’s – there will have been certain stresses on safety devices surrounding the driver.
Still, Dr Le and crews can’t make full assessments on a driver’s condition until they are extricated from the car, as they are compromised inside the compact cockpit, which is obscured by the roll cage.
Depending on how serious an incident is, Dr Le will accompany the driver as they head to the medical centre or the local hospital, where he will work with the local medical providers.
Dr Le also has a major influence away from crash sites, as he educates local medical teams and keeps and eye on drivers post-accident – notably, despite Scott McLaughlin walking from the wreckage of his monster Gold Coast shunt last year, Dr Le sent the Shell V-Power Racing star to Gold Coast’s University Hospital for further scans after he noticed the Kiwi driver slurring and misplacing words in two TV interviews directly after.
The respect for Dr Le in the paddock is strong, as exemplified by Tickford team boss Tim Edwards, who told the broadcast at the time of 2015 accident: “It looks like [Mostert has] broken his upper leg and his wrist as well. They’re just looking to airlift him to Orange at the moment.
“He’s in great hands with Dr Carl, obviously. It’s pretty disappointing, but broken bones will heal. Dr Carl looks after the drivers whether they’ve got a sore head or a stubbed toe. You don’t like to call on him for these more serious ones but it is great that he comes to all our rounds and looks after us all.”