Defending Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour winners Maranollo Motorsport have been forced to withdraw from the event following an accident in the closing minutes of the first practice session.
The team, which entered Mika Salo, Ben Collins and Tony D’Alberto as drivers for Ferrari 458 GT3 in the Pro-Am element of the GT3 class for this year’s race, recorded the second fastest time in the hour long session.
However, as the session came to an end Tony D’Alberto crashed the #88 car. The session was quickly red flagged and D’Alberto was transported to a local hospital for precautionary checks. The damage to the car, though was severe enough for team over Mark Coffey to confirm their withdrawal from the race.
“At this stage it is almost certain that the car is unrepairable so it looks like we will not be able to defend our Bathurst 12 Hour title,” he said. “We were very confident that we had the right pieces in place to defend our victory with a great driving squad and the new support from McDonald’s. But that’s Bathurst. I’d like to thank our sponsors and supporters for their ongoing support and for the effort the team has put into preparing for the race.”
“We will be supporting Tony and his family from here on in and making sure he is OK.”
The opening practice session was led by Lamborghini driver David Russell, who set a lap time half a second quicker than Salo.