Defending champion Chaz Mostert has been airlifted to hospital with a broken leg after a spectacular crash during Bathurst 1000 qualifying that also injured five trackside marshals.
Mostert, 23, suffered leg and wrist fractures in the horror crash that suspended Bathurst 1000 qualifying until Saturday.
One marshal was taken to hospital in a stable condition with a suspected chest injury while another four suffered minor complaints.
V8 Supercars young gun Mostert pinballed off the walls as he reached the Forrest’s Elbow section just minutes into the meeting’s first qualifying session on Friday afternoon.
“Our No.1 priority is the safety of our drivers and officials,” V8 Supercars boss James Warburton said.
“Our thoughts are with Chaz and his family and the marshals who do an incredible job.
“I’d like to thank the specialist emergency response teams and medical staff at the circuit.”
Mostert’s parents Eddie and Maree were present in the team garage during the crash.
It marked Mostert’s second horror crash in three years on the mountain.
Mostert emerged unscathed when he made heavy contact at Reid Park with his Ford in 2013 practice on his Bathurst 1000 debut.
Last year, he won the Great Race with Paul Morris in a famous last-to-first effort.
“First of all, we hope Chaz is alright. He’s got to get back on the horse, but it’s a pretty powerful horse,” two-time Bathurst champion Russell Ingall told Seven Network.
“This may re-live memories (of previous crash for Mostert).”
V8 Supercars officials are yet to release Saturday’s re-jigged qualifying schedule.
Prodrive Racing team principal Tim Edwards told Fox Sports that Mostert had been taken to Orange Base Hospital.
Mostert’s crash immediately suspended all racing on Friday at Mount Panorama.
Speeds at the section of the track where Mostert crashed usually reach 175kph.
Besides his 2013 practice crash, Mostert also missed last year’s qualifying session after passing under red flags.
“He’s just destined not to qualify for this race,” Edwards told speedcafe website.
“(But) he’s in good spirits. His comment to me was, `good job we signed that contract a couple of months ago.'”
Mostert had been the bookies’ favourite to claim pole on the mountain.
The withdrawal of Mostert and co-driver Cameron Waters reduces the Great Race’s field to 26.
Mostert had hoped to make a move for the championship with back-to-back Bathurst wins.
He was sitting second in the V8 championship standings when he arrived at Mount Panorama, less than 200 points behind Ford teammate Mark Winterbottom.