V8 Supercars driver Karl Reindler has conceded he was very “lucky” to escape with little more than second-degree burns to his hands after his Fair Dinkum Sheds racer turned into a fireball when it was struck from behind by Steve Owen at the start of the second race in last weekend’s round at Barbagallo Raceway.
The Perth-born racer, who had just achieved his best-ever race finish in the opening race of the weekend, stalled as the race got underway, and he was rammed from behind by an unsighted Owen who was already doing some 150km/h having started from further behind.
“I’m so lucky, it could have been much worse,” Reindler is quoted as saying in the days after the accident. “It was a 36G impact, I’m lucky I wasn’t knocked out.
“There is no doubt I could have suffocated, but I was conscious the whole time. I could feel a burning sensation every time I took a breath. I’m lucky [the fire marshals] got on to it very quickly.”
As part of his treatment, Reindler is seeing leading burns specialist Dr Fiona Wood, who pioneered revolutionary treatments to severe burns victims.
Owen was also taken to hospital after complaining of abdominal pains, but he was released shortly after.
Both Reindler’s Brad Jones Racing and Owen’s Paul Morris Motorsport teams face a race against time to get repaired – or replacement – chassis built in time for the next race at Winton in Victoria, which is less than three weeks away.
“We have another body shell back in the workshop, which we’ll build up into a car for Winton,” BJR team boss Kim Jones told BigPond Sport.
“The guys back in the workshop started work on it first thing this morning. It’s two or three days until the Perth car gets home, but there’s very little on that car that we’ll actually use.”
Jones stopped short of confirming that Reindler would definitely be in the car at the upcoming two-race event, but was adamant that he full field a full compliment of cars.
“Whether Karl is able to drive it or not, I don’t know yet. I would like to think he is, but the hands take a hell of a hiding changing gears and even hands in good condition end up with blisters,” he added.
“Burns can be quite difficult to heal, so we’ll have a look when Karl gets out of hospital and see what action we take from there.”
[Image via Fairfax]
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