The Lamborghini dipped slightly, by mere millimetres, on the right hand side when the tyre blew and rolled off the rim. There was no avoiding the accident that Danny was going to have with the concrete wall, and he could see it all unfolding from his side window.
He might have known that he was going to hit the wall, known that he couldn’t avoid it no matter what he tried, but the one thing he had no idea of was the effect that the blowing tyre was going have on the way the collision played out.
The exact moment the car dipped to the right hand side the bare rim dug into the bitumen, it didn’t stop the car instead it lifted the left hand wheels off the ground. Momentum then took the car from horizontal and tipped it over.
The drivers side of the car crashed into the concrete barriers as the car tipped. The mirror on the gullwing door was pushed into the plexiglass window. The window with the help of the long moulded mirror was pushed into the car. And the car itself rolled up the concrete barrier, the momentum of one hundred and forty kilometres per hour sending the car into a flip.
On the super slow motion cameras that the race officials, and the team, would use to analyse the crash after the race the car could be seen climbing the wall as it rolled.
By the time the car was vertical, the passenger side wheels pointing skyward, the car had all but cleared the concrete wall. In the air, a clear three metres above the concrete barrier, the car flipped and before even Danny knew what was happening, mainly because his eyes were shut, the car was upside down.
What happened next was as unpredictable as the weather. The car could easily have gone in any direction, it could spun left, spun right, it could have continued to roll, the front could have dipped, or the rear. However what actually happened was that the car flipped three times without changing line or direction.
A fraction of a second later, Danny’s eyes were still closed behind the visor of his helmet, the car came crashing down onto the very top of the barrier. The top of the barrier was only two hundred millimetres wide but when the roof of the Lamborghini Diablo slammed into the concrete it created a V shaped indent in the roof.
The concrete barrier hitting the roof left of centre was possibly the only thing that saved Danny from instant death, a death where two tonnes of concrete was driven into his head, breaking his neck and crushing him instantly. Instead the concrete barrier forced its way into the car, folding the roof around it and crushing the passenger seat.
The force of the crash and the weight of the concrete barrier left the car a twisted and ruined wreck, steel did not fuse itself to concrete but it certainly wrapped itself around the contours of the concrete suspending the car upside down still in the air.
Danny was still strapped in to his seat with his racing harness, the concrete barrier although it missed him had shunted his seat closer to the door. He’d missed the brunt of the impact but he still hadn’t had a smooth or safe ride. The racing harness had held him to his seat as it was suppose to but even before the concrete barrier entered the car the shunting into the wall had dislodged his refreshment box, the box that held his drinks connected to him by a straw over his shoulder and fed into his helmet. That box in turn had torn the ventilation tubes from the window and the gear stick off at its mounts. While the box and the air vents ended up wedged between the concrete barrier and the passenger seat the gear stick rocketed across the cabin and pierced Danny’s left leg less than ten centimetres above his knee.
By the time the gear stick lodged itself in Danny’s leg he was completely out of it, the shunting seat and the force of impact as the momentum of the car finally came to rest was too much and he just blacked out. Being blacked out wasn’t an entirely bad thing for him because not only did it mean he wasn’t feeling the pain it also mean he did not immediately fight to get out of his racing harness and seat.
Not that he have been able to escape the upside down car by himself but had he been able to release himself he’d have fallen head first onto the roof of the car. It would have only been several centimetres but even that distance would have been enough to cause Danny more problems as his pinned arm would have been pulled savagely from where it was stuck between the door and the steering wheel and his foot would have been pulled out from where it was wedged under the clutch pedal.
However the most important reason that blacking out was the best thing for Danny at the point in time had nothing to do with his injuries or potential injuries it came from outside the car and was beyond his control no matter what state he was in.
In the dying revolutions of the engine after it threw the rods and punched the piston through the head hot oil exploded out of the block, under pressure and into the engine bay. The head of the piston that broke off as it exited the head bounced around the engine bay tearing both the brake lines and the fuel lines. Nether the oil or the brake fluid was flammable enough to ignite with the heat of the engine, but the high octane racing fuel was.
Only moments after the car had finally come to rest upside down and wedged on the concrete barrier the entire engine bay was engulfed in flames.
Previous Racing Story here.