Robert Wickens was looking good for another strong finish while running second in the A1 Grand Prix feature race at Durban until he spun at the exit of turn one.
But he compounded the mistake by driving against the flow of traffic and hitting Oliver Jarvis, who was running third.
It was just one of a string of crashes in a crazy race eventually won by Neel Jani of championship leaders Switzerland.
The race took two attempts to get going because of crashes at the turn one, the first shunt causing a ten-car traffic jam. The second crash was triggered by John Martin of Australia.
Once the race got going Jani took up a lead he would only surrender during pit stops. Jarvis lost a place through each of his pit stops, first to Wickens and then to Loic Duval.
When Wickens spun at turn open Duval scrambled past but Wickens was making an attempt to spin his car around when Jarvis arrived on the scene. Wickens hit first the wall and then Jarvis’s car, eliminating himself and leaving Jarvis limping to the pits as the safety car came out for a third time.
At the next restart Adrian Zaugg braked far too late for the first corner and hit Jeroen Bleekemolen’s car hard, triggering another big crash. This one finally brought a halt to the race under red flags, handing Jani the win.
Duval was classified second with Portugese dÃ©butante Filipe Albuquerque picking up a podium. Championship contenders New Zealand eliminated themselves by waving Jonny Reid out into the path of another car during the pits, breaking his nose and causing him to receive a drive-through penalty.