After starting Sunday’s Bathurst 1000 in pit lane then working their way into seventh, things look to be travelling well for Jim Beam Racing duo Steve Johnson and David Besnard.
But that was at the beginning.
Besnard hit a tire bundle hard on the 112th lap of the 161-lap endurance event, spilling fuel which then ignited along the track.
He was trapped inside when the track exploded into a snaking inferno that consumed his crumpled car.
Fire marshals were quickly on the scene to douse the inferno and ensure Besnard’s only injury was fire extinguisher foam in his eyes.
“I’ve had some big accidents, but I’ve never had flames – that was no fun at all.”
“My eyes were stinging a bit from the fire extinguisher. I think [the fire marshals] thought I was on fire – I was covered in the stuff. But I’d rather have a bit of that over me than flames.
Holden rookie Cameron Waters, 17, also hit a wall and had a lengthy spell in the pits but returned to the track.
When the dark clouds over Mount Panorama finally cleared yesterday it was New Zealand’s Greg Murphy behind the wheel of the Pepsi Max Commodore from the Kelly Brothers’ stable who emerged as the quickest to be the surprise pole sitter.
The Holden Racing Team driver won by less then three-tenths of a second in the 161-lap race on the 3.8-mile Mount Panorama circuit.