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Old 23 Mar 2002, 05:20 (Ref:242159)   #1
Vandas
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Vandas should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Freak Accident Destroys Cressey's New Car

Sydney-based motor racing team Piccola Scuderia Corse is desperately searching for a replacement car after the brand new one young New Zealand racing driver James Cressey debuted at Adelaide over the weekend was destroyed by fire in a freak road accident just outside Yass (north of Canberra) this morning.

The car, an Alfa Romeo-engined Dallara F301, was in a two-car trailer being transported back to Sydney when the Ford F250 utility vehicle towing it suffered a puncture.

The driver, team sponsor John Mancini, pulled into a breakdown lane and was waiting for a mobile repair van when the ute and trailer were rear-ended by a large semi-trailer truck and pushed 100 metres up the road.

Seconds later fire broke out in the engine bay of the truck.

The fire quickly spread to the trailer and the ute and in the time it took Mancini to dial 111 the accident scene was engulfed by flames.

Neither Mancini nor the driver of the semi-trailer were injured in the accident but it has had a heavy toll on the close-knit Piccola Scuderia Corse team.

Inside the trailer were two cars - Cressey's brand new F301 and teammate Jeffrey Brewer's 2001 championship-winning F398 - plus everything the team needed to operate at a circuit, including tools, set-up sheets and equipment, wheels, tyres, spare pieces of bodywork etc.

Team manager Michael Masi says he and team owner Rudolf Masi are 'devastated, absolutely devastated' by the accident, though in best motor racing tradition he is adamant that the show will definitely go on.

" We've gone too far for something like this to stop us. I have already had discussions with the other teams about leasing a car for James for the next round of the championship (at Symmons Plains in Tasmania on April 6 & 7) and I will be talking to Dallara tonight about sourcing another 301 in time for Oran Park (the third round of the 2002 Australian Championship) in early May."

Like Masi, James Cressey says he feels like he has lost more than a car.

" It's awful, " he said this afternoon. " It feels like someone has died."

Though the car arrived in Australia just days before the first round of the 2002 championship in Adelaide last weekend, Cressey took to it like a duck to water, qualifying fourth for the first race and third for the second.

After a disagreement with officials over a damaged tyre saw him forced to start the first race from the back of the grid he stormed through the field to finish sixth, lowering the class lap record as he went.

He was just as spectacular in the second race, starting third and finishing second.

On the way he not only lowered the class lap record even further, he set a new outright record for the downtown Adelaide circuit.

Fortunately for him, he, Michael and Rudolf Masi and team engineer Eden Simonini flew back to Sydney from Adelaide on Monday morning.

The young New Zealander, widely tipped as the best driver to emerge from New Zealand since Scott Dixon, says he is also counting his lucky stars he decided not to put his helmet and overall bag in the trailer.

He was going to, then decided that it would be better to take it with him on the plane.................

Police, ambulance and fire services were called to the accident which occurred just after 1.0am this morning (Tuesday 19-03-02).
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Old 23 Mar 2002, 09:21 (Ref:242226)   #2
Francesca
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How awful - can they claim money from the second driver?
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Old 23 Mar 2002, 10:13 (Ref:242243)   #3
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Very nasty accident. It caused all four lanes of the Hume to be closed for many hours with the northbound lanes finally re-opening in the late afternoon.
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Old 24 Mar 2002, 01:09 (Ref:242595)   #4
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marcus has a real shot at the podium!marcus has a real shot at the podium!marcus has a real shot at the podium!marcus has a real shot at the podium!
what a shame , I hope the team can regropu from this and find another car soon , but im also glad to see no one was seriously hurt.
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Old 24 Mar 2002, 03:02 (Ref:242635)   #5
Vandas
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I will provide you all with further information as it comes to hand.

Stay posted, and let's hope Piccola can regroup and give BRM a fair crack for the title of Australian F3 Champion.
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Old 24 Mar 2002, 13:56 (Ref:242863)   #6
Vandas
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On behalf of all at Piccola Scuderia Corse I would like to thank everybody in the motorsport community for their support during this extremily tough time for our team.

We have been very fortunate to have the support of our drivers, sponsors and our employees who want to get the show back on the road as soon as possible.

It was a freak accident that has left us without a thing as far as the race team is concerned, although we will be back as a team at Oran Park for round 3 of the championship to retain the title that we won in 2001!

Thanks again to everybody for their phone calls, emails and general support.

It is greatly appreciated.
This is a response I received from the Piccola Team Manager, Michael Masi.

It looks like they will be up and running by round 3.

Good news.

Hopefully we can see the potential for a massive battle between Piccola and BRM fulfilled.

Cameron
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