DAVE Newsham spoke of his relief after walking away unhurt from a pile-up that saw three British Touring Car drivers hospitalised at Croft.
The Inverness racer was one of the first on the scene as Luke Davenport, Jeff Smith and Aron Taylor-Smith had collided.
It appeared that Davenport was stranded after spilling oil on the track, with other cars unable to steer past him and colliding with his static Ford Focus.
Davenport was placed in an induced coma at hospital after sustaining chest and lung injuries, a broken arm, pelvis, leg and concussion. Smith is still in intensive care with shoulder and chest injuries, while Taylor-Smith was released from hospital on the Saturday night with a fractured leg.
Newsham was able to avoid colliding with Davenport and Ash Sutton, who had spun off the track, and hit the tyre wall instead. But it left a sombre mood in the pit-lane.
“It wasn’t a pleasant atmosphere because news started filtering through fairly quickly on the severity of it,” he said. “You start seeing cars coming back with doors ripped off and driver’s seats deformed. It was horrendous, I’d never seen anything like that before.
“I could see Luke was stranded and I managed to drive round the back of him, but the oil and water on the track had mixed,” said Newsham. “I believe some of the marshals struggled to stand up.
“I was heading straight for Ash but something instinctive kicked in and I managed to avoid him. There was something like 15 cars involved and I was lucky to have got away from it.
“Hopefully the guys are OK. It does bring home how dangerous the sport can be.”
Qualifiying was curtailed before Newsham had chance to record a lap-time, meaning he started from the back of the grid.
A puncture ended his first race, he took 19th in race two and clambered into the last of the points places in the final race.