'I just wanted it to end': Pingel on Raceway crash
'I had no idea where I was, or which way I was facing,' said Brendon Pingel after his terrifying multiple rollover at Queensland Raceway on Saturday.
Lockyer Valley-based Pingel, the defending Aussie Racing Cars champion, was launched into a terrifying series of rollovers mid-race while the Aussie Racing Car supported the V8 Supercars at the Coates Hire Ipswich Supersprint.
Speaking exclusively to the QT, Pingel said of all the crashes in his motorsport career, this one 'probably hurt the least'.
"I think I got a 9.5 out of 10 for the landing, but I reckon the judges would only have given me a seven for some of the flips," he said.
"I had no idea what was going on, I didn't know what happened until I saw the replay later."After watching the video replay, Pingel was able to reconstruct the terrifying crash.
"It was a restart after a safety car period, we were all bunched up, and there was a spin in front of me.
"I had already planned my escape route, I was ready to go rallycrossing on the outside of Turn 1 if I needed to, when the car beside me gave me a touch on the right rear."
With the car already leaning towards the outside of the corner, it did not take much more to launch it into a rollover.
"We were doing about 130km/h at that point, so there was plenty of energy in the car, and it just started rolling.
"I had time to sit there, thinking, 'I just want this to end', I had no idea where I was, or what way I was facing, I was just waiting to get hit by another car coming out of the dust."
With adrenaline kicking in as the car launched into its incredible six rollovers, Pingel said he felt like he had 'all the time in the world' to prepare for the inevitable landing.
"It felt like it took five minutes, even though it was about five seconds, I just wanted it to end."
The violence of the crash was revealed in the in-car footage, with Pingel attributing his lack of injuries to the HANS (Head And Neck System) device he was wearing.
"If I wasn't wearing the HANS device, it would have been much worse.
"The seatbelts did stretch, they are no good any more, but they did their job.
"My brain got a shook up a bit, my neck and head were sore, I always make sure I do my belts up extra tight, this is why."
Pingel said he put his hands up to the roof to brace himself, before realising they could be crushed by the roll cage.
"I put my fists onto the roof to brace my head with my arms, because nothing else was going to move, and then I put my hands on my helmet to stop my head snapping around."
The car's data recorders registered an impact of 5g - five times the force of gravity - before they 'glitched out', Pingel said.
"I am pretty bloody lucky, I remained conscious the whole time, other rollovers in the category, guys have passed out, one driver even lost his sight for about half an hour following his crash."
Pingel said he was able to climb from the wrecked car, mainly due to the 'finesse' of the roll.
"Most of the tumbling was in the air, so I wasn't getting shaken around by impacts."
The defending series champion said the team now faces an 'uphill battle' to repair the car for the next race at Sydney Motorsport Park, in seven weeks time.
"Then we are racing in New Zealand for the final round, so there is a lot of work to be done, it is going to be tough."
Pingel said the whole front of the car needs to be replaced, from the firewall forwards.
"It will be a total rebuild, the whole car needs to stripped, the gearbox is buggered, the whole front end will need a re-do, the suspension was badly damaged.
"We will cut the front off, from the cabin forward."
The rear of the car fared better, with only component damage, Pingel said.
"The rear Panhard Rod broke the mount off the differential, it is very easy to fix, and the differential and drive shafts need rebuilding, but they are all replaceable parts."
With just two rounds remaining in the series, Pingel said his title defence has taken 'a big hit'.
"I am now in fifth, 12 points behind the leader, so I am highly unlikely to retain my title, but I am now aiming to be in the top three at the end of the year.
"The last three rounds there have been a lot of contacts (with other drivers) that have cost me a lot of points, but this is the worst so far."
Pingel said the rebuild will hurt the team financially, with the cost of the crash still being tallied up, and the hunt was on for additional sponsors.
"We certainly hadn't budgeted for this crash, fixing it will require a lot more money, but the incident has generated a lot of publicity, but we still need to get back on track for the last two rounds."