Vilar Real’s 27-car WTCC pile-up proves just how unforgiving street circuits can be
As you can see from the video below, when you funnel a grid of feisty, fighty World Touring Cars into a tight, unforgiving street circuit in Portugal, you’ve got a Michelin-star recipe for carnage with a capital C.
As the F1 circus spent the weekend making use of the hectares of colourful, stripy run-off at Paul Ricard, the argy-bargy world of WTCC didn’t make it past turn three of race one before the too-close-for-comfort barriers came into play, plugging up the whole grid into one slightly fiery crumpled ball of hot hatches:
During the opening lap of the first race of the World Touring Car Cup in Vila Real, polesitter Rob Huff and team-mate Mehdi Bennani fired off the line and jostled for position through the first two corners.
But, approaching turn three side-by-side, no one was willing to give up position - leading to the front-right of Bennani’s Volkswagen Golf GTI cannoning straight into the rear of his teammate’s car, spinning him around at full speed and spitting him into the barriers then back into the middle of the track for the rest of the pack to collect.
In total, 27 cars were involved, including Thed Bjork’s YMR Hyundai i30N that went up in flames after impact. Luckily, there were no serious injuries. Even so, the race was immediately suspended and it took over two hours to clear up. The fans did their bit though, throwing water and umbrellas on track to keep the drivers cool in the searing heat.
Just goes to show, street circuits are unforgiving places, eh?
STORY Rowan Horncastle