Mechanic pushes rival team member into car during pit lane crash at Dubai 24 Hours

Jack de Menezes

A mechanic was lucky to escape serious injury during the Dubai 24 Hours when he was pushed into the path of a car by a rival team member, causing a nasty-looking collision in the pit lane.

The race proved an incident-packed event that was called off before the halfway point due to torrential rain, with officials taking the decision not to restart after a lengthy red flag overnight.

The green flag dropped on Friday afternoon for the 80-car field, but the opening few hours were blighted by a serious incident in the pit lane during a busy round of stops.

As one of the pit crew on the No 989 MRS GT-Racing entry waved their Porsche 991 away following the completion of their stop, the No 77 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan was bust being serviced in the next pit box, with space at a premium as is usual in endurance racing.

The MRS Porsche entry of Gosia Rdest, Jukka Honkavuori, John Hartshorne and Ollie Hancock left the pit box after getting the all clear, but little to the crew member’s knowledge was that right behind him a Barwell mechanic was running around their Lamborghini to change one of the left-hand side tyres.

Shoving the MRS team member out of his way, the Barwell mechanic inadvertently pushed him directly into the path of the departing Porsche, which violently threw them to the ground after getting hit by the large rear spoiler.

Thankfully it was reported that the mechanic was not seriously injured but was badly shaken by the incident and taken to the medical centre for an assessment on minor injuries.

The Barwell entry was handed a four-minute time penalty for the team causing the accident, though plenty of irate fans on social media called for a harsher punishment given what could have happened in the collision.

The incident came early in a race that was eventually red flagged at 10:17pm local time following seven hours and 17 minutes of racing as the heavens opened, with rain bad enough that the minimum 60mph speed during the Code 60 period became almost impossible to reach in the treacherous conditions.

Officials were hopeful of restarting the race on Saturday morning, but thunder and lightning was reported in the early hours as the rainfall hit its peak around 4am, and a statement from race organisers Creventic confirmed at 7:38am that it would not be restarted.

The statement said: “The weather conditions have heavily impacted the entire city and the infrastructures of Dubai Autodrome.

“Despite the best effort of Dubai Autodrome staff and officials to resolve the situation on track, the water level on track and in the pit lane continued to rise throughout the night.

“In mutual agreement, Creventic and Dubai Autodrome have decided not to resume the race on grounds of safety.”

The result meant that the No 4 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG of Ben Barker, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Manuel Metzger, Hubert Haupt and Khaled Al Qubaisi was crowned provisional winners, with the MP Motorsport Mercedes AMG taking the GT3-Am honours for Henk de Jong, Daniel de Jong, Bert de Heus and Jaap van Lagen.