This crash is the stuff of nightmares—not just racing-themed nightmares, but, like, all nightmares. This is the equivalent of being trapped in a glass box with nowhere else to go, seeing all of the improbable ways to escape while constantly getting hit by other objects also stuck in that glass box.
The giant roadblock happened on a street circuit in Vila Real, a city in northern Portugal that the FIA World Touring Car Cup had three races in at last weekend. The whole weekend was wild, with a driver saying he almost collapsed racing in the heat with the flu, a qualifying session with four red flags, and this wreck, which Autosport reports stopped the first race for more than two hours. It also halted almost every car in the field, and damaged the ones that drove away.
This is the kind of thing that’ll make you appreciate runoff at permanent facilities like Formula One French Grand Prix track Circuit Paul Ricard, no matter how ugly or hypnotizing all of the lines are:
The wreck all started when Sébastien Loeb Racing teammates Rob Huff and Mehdi Bennani got into each other on the opening lap, and Autosport reports the eventual crash destroyed both of their cars to the point that they’ll need entirely new ones. Since they were at the front and the circuit isn’t very wide, the whole field piled up neatly behind them—like something out of a video game.
Huff told the World Touring Car Cup web team his race car was on fire after the wreck, and that he was too winded to climb out himself. Two other drivers came over to help get him out before the medical crew arrived, he said, and he doesn’t seem mad about the wreck itself. From the series website:
Both Volkswagen Golf GTI TCRs were severely damaged in the crash and took no further part at WTCR Race of Portugal. Huff acknowledged the team had lost the chance of a great result at the fast street circuit, and also refused to place any blame on Bennani for the collision.
“I feel sorry for the team, as this should have been a sensational weekend for us,” he said. “The Golf GTI TCR was absolutely amazing around this track. The car was quick, Mehdi was quick and there with us, but it’s just one of those things. [...]”
Quick, someone make this guy a plaque for chillest reaction by a race-car driver in history to a giant, car-destroying, field-collecting wreck. Most of us would be hard pressed to react that calmly to a wreck in a video game.