Newcastle Supercars driver Aaren Russell was feeling lost and gutted after his Sandown 500 campaign ended when co-driver Taz Douglas ploughed into a tyre wall on the first lap.
Douglas suffered a punctured tyre when making contact with Tim Slade’s Brad Jones Racing Commodore in the first few corners before running straight ahead at the fast turn six, where Todd Hazelwood had crashed spectacularly in qualifying.
Douglas went straight ahead and slammed into the tyres, severely damaging the Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport Commodore’s front end.
“It’s a bit of a tough pill to swallow at the moment, actually,” Russell told the Herald before flying home on Sunday night. “It’s a bit strange. I didn’t know what to feel. I’ve never been in a situation where I haven’t been able to drive my race car.”
Russell earned a deal to return to the series in July at Townsville and had done well to get the car up to 19th in qualifying at Sandown.
He said Douglas had apologised to the team after returning to the pits as the race was red-flagged.
“It’s such a tough job at the start. You try to stay out of trouble. In hindsight, in the heat of the moment, the slightest bit of contact here or there can destroy your race.
“He’s obviously shattered. I could tell all afternoon the poor bloke was feeling it. It would be a real crappy position for him to be in.”
Russell will also race at Bathurst, the Gold Coast and at the first Newcastle 500 in November.