GB3 will look at how it “can avoid a similar situation in the future” following a near-miss in their season opener as a stranded car rolled backwards onto the track.
A chain reaction of events led to the incident in the first race at Oulton Park last Saturday, with Gerrard Xie, McKenzy Cresswell and Costa Toparis colliding at Lodge corner moments before a safety car restart late in the race.
The race resumed with the stranded cars dealt with under double-waved yellow flags. But as the field approached Lodge on the next lap, Toparis’ vacated car rolled backwards onto the track, with just enough space on the inside of the corner for everyone to get through.
Those towards the rear of the field came closest to hitting the Rodin Carlin driver’s unoccupied car, including Elite Motorsport’s Oliver Stewart and Fortec Motorsports’ Edward Pearson.
“Obviously it was double-waved yellows so I slowed down as much as possible,” Stewart told Formula Scout. “But if I’d slowed down any more I would have come together with the car so I had to speed up to get past it, it was rolling back.
“It was scary for everyone and I only just managed to get past it, if I was a couple of car lengths later I would have hit it so not an incident that anyone wants to be involved in. Definitely a scary incident.”
Pearson, running two places behind Stewart, felt there was enough room to get through. “There was the car rolling down the hill, I saw it and I was like ‘it isn’t going that fast, I’m going to go for it’ and I knew there was a gap so it was fine. If I was a couple of car lengths back it would have been too late.”
“Obviously, seeing that car roll back wasn’t the greatest thing,” added Pearson’s team-mate Jarrod Waberski, who was running higher up the order. “It wasn’t too bad from where we were, it just started to roll when we were coming past. Hopefully no more incidents like that and glad everyone’s alright.”
The incident was raised in Monday’s drivers’ briefing, with all drivers reminded about the need to slow down more for double-waved yellows.
“There are some things we can learn from it,” said Giles Butterfield, group operations manager at GB3 promoter and circuit owner MotorSport Vision.
“The corner has got quite a camber on it and so unfortunately when the driver got out and left it in neutral like he’s supposed to do the car rolled across the track. One of the things we’ve said to the drivers is if you’re having to get out of your car and it’s on a slope, just leave it in gear and not in neutral because it’s going to roll away otherwise. It’s a difficult situation.
“We had a bit of a word with the drivers and said to them when you are approaching something like this and there’s double-waved yellows there needs to be more slowing down going on fundamentally. But it’s competition, it’s tough out there and people don’t want to give away anything, so it’s tricky to get that balance right. With 20/20 hindsight it’s easy to be wise, but we’ll work on how we can avoid a similar situation in the future.”