Motorsport Australia defends response to Perkins fire

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Jack Perkins’ Holden Commodore sustained heavy front-end damage during the opening Super2 race in Townsville, before a fire took hold in the engine bay of the stricken car.

It took a considerable time for marshals armed with fire extinguishers to arrive on the scene.

While what was perceived to be a slow response raised eyebrows at the time, Motorsport Australia has since reviewed the situation and defended the actions of its officials.

The governing body says the car was awkwardly positioned in terms of access, while also claiming Perkins failed to activate the on-board fire extinguisher.

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“Motorsport Australia has reviewed the circumstances of the car fire and the fire response involving Jack Perkins’ Commodore, Car 88, in the Dunlop Series (Super2/Super3) race on Saturday,” read a statement from Motorsport Australia.

“Car 88 stopped at an infield access gate not used or manned during competition and it is not a marshal’s post. As such, there were no fire extinguishers available at this point.

“There was a marshal post approximately 60 metres from this incident on the opposite side of the circuit. It is a well-established protocol that our officials cannot cross a ‘hot track’ until given approval from race control once it is safe to do so. In this case, the barrier was on the track edge making access potentially dangerous at that time.

“A fire response vehicle was also located 800 metres from the incident at Turn 2 and reached car 88 within 41 seconds of being scrambled by race control.

“For context, there were 19 signed marshal posts across the Reid Park circuit, all of which have three fire extinguishers available at each. Given the length of the track, this averages out to a marshal post with extinguishers approximately every 150 metres. There were also several fire response vehicles located around the circuit.

“As with all cars competing in the Dunlop Series, Car 88 was also fitted with a fire extinguisher in the engine bay for use on fires such as this. In this instance, it was not activated by the driver.

“We will make sure all competitors are reminded about the various fire safety procedures for future events, including the lifting of bonnets which can increase the fire risk.

“Circuit safety is our paramount responsibility, and while no one likes to see a car on fire we need to ensure our competitors and responding volunteer marshals’ safety is our number one priority.”

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