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Leading qualifiers concerned for fellow competitors after pile-up

The British Touring Car Championship qualifying session at Croft ended prematurely, with a huge pile-up leading to three drivers being hospitalised and the leading drivers expressing their concern for those involved.

When Motorbase’s Luke Davenport ripped the oil sump off his car following an off-track excursion at the high-speed Jim Clark Esses, it not only sent the youngster into the barriers at high-speed on his own oil, but also caused a chain reaction behind as other drivers struggled to control their cars.

Davenport was hit hard by a spinning Andrew Jordan, whilst Árón Taylor-Smith and Jeff Smith also made contact.

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A slew of cars also went into the barriers, with some collecting the stricken and heavily damaged cars that hit the oil first.

The session was immediately red-flagged, and did not resume thereafter due to the need for medical and rescue crews to attend to Davenport, Taylor-Smith and Smith.

It left Subaru’s Ash Sutton on pole, but he admitted afterwards that he had little joy in taking pole position – with the BMR driver himself suffering heavy damage in the incident.

“Yes, we’re on pole but my thoughts go straight to those involved in the accident,” said Sutton. “I was one of the first into the accident and had to witness everyone else being collected and it wasn’t a pretty sight.

“I think Andrew Jordan was the first to the scene and myself and Colin Turkington were second and third and we got away with it.

“The boys will be working all night on our car to get it ready for tomorrow but it’s all about those who were caught up in it.

“Hopefully everyone can get back out on track but it’s all about them and thoughts go out to them.”

MG’s Josh Cook was waiting to hear on news about his team-mate, who reportedly lost consciousness briefly as a result of the shunt.

“We’re still waiting to hear back on Árón’s condition,” said Cook. “I hope everybody is OK because it was a nasty crash.

“Cars can be repaired but people can’t, so I hope that Jeff, Luke and Árón are all OK.

“As a racer, as we’ve seen recently, motorsport is a very tight community, and to see anybody get hurt like that and have a crash like that is awful.

“Fingers crossed that everybody is OK because some of the states of the cars are pretty bad. We’re waiting to hear some good news about Árón and the other drivers.

“I’ll do my best to represent the brand; hopefully we can have some good results over the weekend. It’s a shame that this has happened, but it is racing and it is dangerous.”

Motorbase’s Mat Jackson ended up in third, but his thoughts were with team-mate Davenport afterwards, who is also at the James Cook University Hospital.

“The first thing is making sure everyone’s okay and it’s never nice to see that,” said Jackson. “Whenever you get fluid down on track it’s a disaster and you can’t see it in the wet.

“It’s greasy through Barcroft anyway in the wet and if you’re off you’re a passenger. Hopefully everyone is okay.”

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