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F3 Macau GP

Aron thought he was on fire in scary Macau F3 crash

Prema driver Paul Aron admits he initially thought he was on fire when he saw flames coming from his wrecked car in the wake of his scary Macau Grand Prix crash.

Aron was running in fifth place on the eighth lap of the Formula 3 showpiece event when he suffered a major impact with the barriers at Paiol, the left-hander that follows the Solitude Esses.

The Estonian’s car was torn into two pieces, with the rear axle ripped away in the shunt, while the remainder burst into flames upon the impact. Aron was able to escape his stricken machine unaided and was not harmed.

A safety car and red flags soon followed, and the race was suspended for almost an hour while marshals repaired the damaged barriers.

Reflecting on the incident, Aron explained the accident was triggered by a toe-link failure that caused him to lose control suddenly.

“I had a very small brush with the wall at the corner before the hairpin but, after that, the car felt fine, so I kept going,” he told Autosport. 

“On the next lap, going into the fast bit of the track, my right rear toe-link failed and I went straight into the wall. 

“After the crash, I was quite confused. I didn’t know what happened because the car reacted very unpredictably, which is explained by the rear toe-link. It happened so fast. And when I saw the flames, I thought I was on fire! 

“I’ve already calmed down and I’m fine. But my main worry was my family, because I knew how it would look from the outside. They are all here, so I didn’t want them to be worried. 

“This is Macau, these things can happen, and sadly the failure happened at one of the fastest parts of the track and where the walls are closest.”

Paul Aron, SJM Theodore Prema Racing

Photo by: Macau GP

Paul Aron, SJM Theodore Prema Racing

Aron had started Sunday’s main event from seventh on the grid after finishing in that position in Saturday’s qualifying race, and climbed as high as third in the early laps.

But he was passed by both Dennis Hauger and Mari Boya on the long run down to Lisboa, and was defending hard from Pepe Marti at the time of his crash - with Marti and the car behind him, Charlie Wurz, also getting caught up in the incident.

Aron explained his lack of straight-line performance was forcing him to take risks on the rest of the circuit in a bid to make up for the lost time.

“Already in race one we were slow in terms of straight speeds,” said the 19-year-old. “It would have been nice to finish on the podium, but it’s always difficult when you struggle with speed on the straights. 

“It’s an event where you go all out and, if you are missing speed on the straights, you have to try and make it up in the corners. 

“That can be risky and, after brushing the wall, it could be why the failure happened, although I’m not sure.”

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