Hunter Abbott says knowing that he had hit the camera gantry in the spectacular start-line incident during the final race of the BTCC Snetterton weekend was the "worst feeling imaginable".
Abbott’s Chevrolet Cruze suffered extensive damage after a frightening roll in the third race at the Norfolk track, having only just been repaired following a multi-car accident in race two.
"It’s so frustrating as there was nothing I could have done," Abbott said of the race two crash.
"Okay, so I lost a few places at the start of race two and maybe I could have gone left rather than right when Dan Welch and Ollie Jackson got together.
"But you have a split second to make the decision and that was the way I went. It was just unfortunate that Ollie came back across and I collected him.
"The team did a great job to get the car out for race three. and then all of a sudden, Alex Martin and Mark Howard collected each other.
"Again, I had nowhere to go and my race was done before I'd even crossed the line to start it."
"So thankful" no-one hurt
Abbott said he didn't realise his car had hit the camera gantry until after he'd left the medical centre.
He added: "When I clipped Mark’s car and it started to go over, I just thought, 'I can’t f***ing believe this'.
"I’ve rolled a car before, and have landed on top of the barrier before, so I knew what to expect and I was just hoping that I wasn’t going to go over it and into the crowd."
"I wasn’t even aware until I left the medical centre later that I’d hit the camera gantry as that was the point when someone told me it had gone over, and it was just the worst feeling imaginable.
"As drivers, we sign up to do this and are aware of the dangers, but we are prepared for them.
"People like the cameraman and the spectators trackside aren’t – they don’t have the roll cage and safety things that we have to protect them.
"The car stood up really well to the impact which allowed me to come out unharmed, and I’m so thankful it was the same for everyone else too."
Matt Salisbury / TouringCarTimes