Alberto Panebianco on violent Vallelunga crash: “I realized I was going into the barriers!”

Every ticket at a race track says “motorsport is dangerous”. In EuroNASCAR 2 Round 5 at Autodromo di Vallelunga, Alberto Panebianco experienced the scary side of racing when he hit the barriers on lap 8 at the Semaforo turn going straight off track. While coming out of it with a fracture to his right thumb for keeping his hand on the steering wheel during the impact, Panebianco praised the strong safety features of the NWES car for keeping him safe inside the cockpit.

Photo 2022 07 21 13.13.18
Credits: Alberto Panebianco

“I got stuck behind the #24 of Christian Malcharek and the #69 of Melvin de Groot when I lost my brakes entering the Semaforo hairpin,” said the Italian. “Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of space to avoid contact there so I immediately realized I was going to crash into the wall. The only questions I had were: where, how fast and which angle?” Panebianco thought about taking the corner but decided that this was a bad plan.

“I would have crashed into Christian, caused more damage and ruined his race. So I went to the left because the wall is a bit more far ahead, so I had a bigger chance to reduce the speed of my car.” Panebianco also turned the car sideways to avoid a head on impact. While doing so, the Not Only Motorsport driver forgot to throw his hands away from the steering wheel and that’s why the Italian injured his finger.

After the violent impact, Panebianco quickly realized that he was unharmed: he checked his legs, neck and shoulders and he was okay – thanks to the high safety level of the EuroNASCAR car. Then he felt the pain in his finger but he was able to climb out the car. The marshals brought him to the track’s medical center where he got his first aid. “I got a fracture on my finger and therefore the physicians didn’t clear me to race on Sunday. They were super nice and well prepared.”

An x-ray confirmed the injury and Panebianco was transferred to a hospital in Rome. The doctors there did not clear him to race on Sunday and they decided that the Italian needed surgery to heal his finger. “The ligament at the base of the thumb ripped off the bone,” said Panebianco, who now has a screw in his hand to help the bones and ligament recover. The Not Only Motorsport driver is poised to strike back after summer break and be back at the wheel of the Chevrolet Camaro on September 3-4 at Most, Czech Republic.

Beside the safety of the NWES car, the support the Italian got from his team, family, friends and fans was something Panebianco was very thankful for. “It was tough not to race on Sunday and see all my rivals on track but it was nice to see all the messages and support from a lot of people that I thought they didn’t even know me or haven’t ever spoken to.” The surgery went well and Panebianco is set to work hard for his NWES comeback. “You see me in the car at Most, it’s a promise!”

Panebianco Klemen 1 (2)
Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Klemen Sofric