Ford driver Tim Slade says he’s “absolutely gutted” at the huge crash which destroyed his Mustang during the opening race of the Supercars season.
Slade, whose only outing in 2020 was as Scott McLaughlin’s co-driver at the Bathurst 1000, returned to full-time duties with the Blanchard Racing Team, an outfit that barely existed three months ago.
After four years of running as part of the Brad Jones Racing team, Blanchard chose to go it alone for 2021, running a Tickford-built Mustang.
The team enjoyed a fairytale start at Mt Panorama, with Slade qualifying second for the season-opening round.
But running in fourth spot just five laps from the finish, Slade’s weekend turned sour when a gearbox issue caused a huge crash on the approach to Forrest’s Elbow.
The impact destroyed the Mustang, leaving a disconsolate Slade to sit out the rest of the weekend.
“Absolutely gutted to not finish the race Saturday and put us out for the rest of the weekend,” Slade wrote on social media.
“I said many times over the weekend what an amazing job the whole team has done in such a short period of time and how well they all worked at their first race for BRT. Super proud of them all.
“I didn’t do my job properly, but it’s done now. I’ll get over it soon and focus on bouncing back and being the best I can be at the next one.
“Many positives to take from our first race weekend and there’s no reason why we can’t repeat the speed we showed.”
Speaking immediately after the race, Slade said the car went into neutral when he changed down for the corner, before engaging first gear instead of second. That locked the rear tyres and fired him into the wall.
The team will now have to build a new car for the next round of the championship, to be held at Sandown in just under three weeks’ time.
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