THE RECENT DTM German touring car race at the Hungaroring will likely be the best-remembered round of the 2018 championship for all the wrong reasons, after three drivers crashed in their pit boxes at the sodden and slippery track.
What should have been a routine tyre change in response to heavy rain instead became perfect viral video fodder. A combination of a slippery concrete pitlane surface, a sudden downpour and slick racing tyres resulted in pandemonium in the pits, as three drivers in quick succession failed to control their cars under braking.
Though an ambulance and cautionary yellow flags were released in response to race leader Lucas Auer hitting a pair of race marshals, they weren’t enough to prevent the ensuing drama.
Just moments afterwards, fellow Mercedes driver Edoardo Mortara sent some his race engineers tumbling after colliding with the pit gantry, with BMW’s Bruno Spengler’s similar accident bringing out red flags to end the race.
Seven people were injured in the trio of accidents, with three suffering from severe and medium-level injuries according to a statement from the DTM series.
Though all those who were hurt in the incidents were hospitalised, none thankfully received critical injuries.
The unusual story has an one final twist, though: as punishment for violating the sport’s regulations by crashing in the pits, the three affected drivers were disqualified from the race. Further reprimands were issued to Mortara and Spengler too, with each driver being banned from the next two race weekend bans on top of serving 10-place grid penalties upon their return.
While one could recommend the drivers be given a lesson in good old-fashioned cadence braking, it would be more reasonable to argue that the circuit designers have something to answer for, given the slippery surface used for the pit boxes.