A serious accident occurred at the LeMans circuit in France on the weekend weekend. Several junior drivers were injured when they ran into a kart left on the circuit from an accident on the prior lap.
franceracing.fr report 36 drivers in the National category (12-16 years old) started their pre-final, all on wet tyres, but there was a collision at turn 3. That in itself wasn’t too serious, however a kart was still on the circuit when the field came by the following lap.
The leaders missed it. Several others did not.
Above: The video posted by France Racing on YouTube
The website reports one driver has a fractured pelvis, one has fractured ankles and another a broken wrist. We wish them all a full and speedy recovery.
As the author of the article, Tom Turschwel, correctly points out, a factor in the second accident was the karts involved in the first collision had not been cleared in time. “The reason: a lack of track marshals, logically dealing with pilots rather than karts”.
I believe this is an issue we have here in this country. I understand the reasoning to get people off the circuit (therefore they cannot be struck by runaway karts), however I’ve also seen races run where the only person on track was a photographer and there was nobody to assist two junior drivers who had become tangled – and no way for anyone to quickly reach them either.
The final factor Turschwel listed was the Race Director not throwing a red flag. While that would likely have solved the issue before it escalated, at what point does the Race Director make that call? If they’d called a red flag early for what was essentially a minor incident, I’m sure they’d come under a barrage of criticism from the parents…
Several commenters believe the drivers did not respect the yellow flags. The leaders, at the last moment, did see the yellow flags, raised their hand and took avoiding action. However, those behind did not, and I believe that was likely through lack of visibility, such is the spray kicked up from wet weather tyres.
You can read the full article on franceracing.fr HERE (but it’s in French).
Editor’s Note: I have published this article not to point fingers and lay blame, but for the sport to learn, in the hope such incidents can be reduced, if not eliminated, in the future.