It would only take a few seconds for Sunday’s Le Mans Series six hour race of Paul Ricard to descend into chaos.
As the field lined-up side-by-side on the approach to start the race, the gantry lights flickered green, yet the safety car remained on course at the head of the field. Confusion reigned and some runners – thinking the safety car had pulled into the pits – put their feet to the throttle, while those at the front remained at warn up lap pace.
Behind the LMS group, the GT classes saw only the green lights and really went. A wall of cars grew quickly as the midpack slowed suddenly, but it was not enough warning for rear gunners; most of slammed hard into the gaggle of machines ahead.
It would prove to be a disastrous start to the LMS season and the one element that would garner the most headlines.