Craig Lowndes has emerged uninjured from a spectacular flying crash at Phillip Island, missing half of Friday’s Supercars practice but vowing to return for the weekend’s races.
Lowndes left the track at 240km/h in Friday’s warm-up session, hurtling through the gravel and into the tyre wall which threw his Commodore into the air.
Seconds earlier, title-chasing DJR Team Penske driver Fabian Coulthard had a lower-impact run-off into the wall in a dramatic day at the circuit.
Both men were unhurt from their impacts but left their teams with plenty of thinking to do ahead of an expected wet-track race meet.
Chaz Mostert led the pack, setting a new practice lap record of 1:29.5747.
He was one of five Falcons in the top seven, with Shane van Gisbergen the fastest Holden in second place.
Lowndes blamedhis smash on a blown front tyre.
“You don’t want a right-front tyre going on a left-hand corner,” he said.
“I became a passenger and the car sailed through like it was an ice rink.”
Lowndes was a spectator for the second practice session as his Commodore was repaired, but he was impressed by Mostert’s pace.
“By the looks of those times, we need to do something,” he said.
Team Vortex engineers said car No.888 would “100 per cent” be right to go for the 250km races on Saturday and Sunday.
Coulthard, second in the championship standings behind leader van Gisbergen, hit the fence at low speed after sailing through a gravel trap earlier on the same lap.
He looked confused by the incident, but his Falcon was in better shape than Lowndes’ Commodore.
Simona De Silvestro also brought a red flag after running wide and getting bogged in her attempt to re-enter the field.
A forecast of intermittent rain across the weekend raises the possibility of more incidents.
Van Gisbergen said he was looking forward to the lengthened Saturday race, which was just 120km last year.
“250 kilometres – it’s going to be pretty physical … I’m pretty confident,” he said.
There was further bad news on Friday for Lowndes, who was docked 15 points for an incident with Cameron Waters at the Symmons Plains round in Tasmania.