Maranello Motorsport’s bid for a repeat victory in the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour is likely over, following a heavy accident in opening practice that’s sent Tony D’Alberto to the hospital and its Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 destroyed.
The V8 Supercar driver escaped serious injury following an incident with the No. 99 Craft-Bamboo Racing Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 of Jean-Marc Merlin at Forrest’s Elbow, leading to significant damage to both GT3 contenders.
D’Alberto, who according to team owner Mark Coffey was awake and alert and speaking with medical staff, has been transported by ambulance to a local hospital for precautionary checks. Merlin was evaluated and released from trackside medical.
With heavy damage to its Prancing Horse, Maranello looks set to withdraw it car from the race.
“At this stage it is almost certain that the car is unrepairable so it looks like we will not be able to defend our Bathurst 12 Hour title,” Coffey said.
“We were very confident that we had the right pieces in place to defend our victory with a great driving squad and the new support from McDonald’s. But that’s Bathurst.
“I’d like to thank our sponsors and supporters for their ongoing support and for the effort the team has put into preparing for the race.
“We will be supporting Tony and his family from here on in and making sure he is OK.”
While Maranello may be out of the event, the team is still supporting the effort of the Flying B Motorsport Bentley Continental GT3 of Peter Edwards, John Bowe and David Brabham.