British racing driver James Winslow is to be featured in a BBC
documentary series focusing on bravery in life-threatening situations, following his daring rescue of a rival during the 2006 Asian F3 Championship.
The series, called Accidental Heroes
, began its run on BBC1
at the end of August, and tonight - a week later than originally planned - Winslow's story will be included.
The footage contains interviews with the Briton and the man he rescued, Moreno Soeprapto, as well as dramatic footage of the build-up, accident and rescue at Indonesia's Sentul circuit.
The accident occurred when the Asian F3 series was drawing to a close in late September and Winslow was in the running for the title when he and Soeprapto made contact on the opening lap of round 14. The Indonesian was drafting Winslow into turn three when he ran into the back of the Briton at approximately 280kph, his car being catapulted up and over Winslow's and barrel-rolling many times off the track before landing sideways, with the driver's head against the tyre wall.
Even before the race was red-flagged, Winslow rushed to his rival's aid, only to find the fuel line on Soeprapto's car had ruptured. After switching the fuel pump off, Winslow fought to free the local favourite before the car erupted in flames and, despite the spilt fuel catching light dramatically, managed to help Soeprapto to safety.
Although the Briton attempted to play down the magnitude of his actions, the resulting blaze had been big enough to damage over fifty metres of tyre wall and left burns the length of his race suit.
“It was one of those situations where you really didn't have time to think,” he said, “It was another driver in there and I knew I just had to try and get him out. It was fortunate that Moreno was driving the car that I had driven the previous season, so I knew where the fuel pump switch was. That probably bought us precious time.
“How he had landed, however, was worst case scenario, with the car upside-down and his head against the barrier, so there was no room to escape. It didn't take too much to work out that he was going to need help and, at first, I didn't even think about the car bursting into flames”
“The biggest thing was being able to get between the car and the barrier and move it enough to be able to get hold of him and help free him out of the cockpit. I just did whatever I could and Moreno's okay – and that's the main thing.”
Winslow returned to the track for the restarted race later in the afternoon and took victory, paving the way to title success at the end of the season. Soeprapto escaped with only minor injuries.