Renault’s Robert Kubica facing year out after rally crash

Renault driver will require lengthy recovery period after having surgery following rallying accident

By Gareth Llewellyn
robert kubica
(Photo: Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic)

robert kubica

Renault’s Robert Kubica could be out of action for a year after he was seriously injured in a rallying accident in Italy on Sunday.

The 26-year-old sustained multiple fractures after a serious high-speed crash during the opening stage of the Ronde di Andora club rally on Sunday morning in the village of Testico.

Kubica was trapped in the car for over an hour after the incident before extraction equipment and fire engines could reach the remote location, but once freed he was airlifted to a local hospital for a medical assessment

“Unfortunately the impact with the guardrail caused serious harm,” Kubica’s manager Daniele Morelli told Italian media outside the Santa Corona Hospital near Genoa.

“He has been diagnosed with multiple fractures to his leg and right arm, especially complications related to his right hand. We shall see later if the operation was successful. The clinical picture is not easy. We expect to make the necessary assessments tonight.”

“The surgeons are trying to restore the functionality of his right hand. We must now think about the muscle function, but Robert has a very strong temper and will succeed.

“The important thing is that Robert recovers, as it has already proven to do with the incident in Canada. On that occasion it took him three months to get back on track.”

Kubica could now miss the whole of the 2011 season which is due to begin in Bahrain next month.

“We have to wait at least a week to see if his hand survives,” said Italian hand surgery specialist, Igor Rossello. “The nerve lesions are the ones that leave us with the most question marks over the recovery of functions.

“Rehabilitation will be relatively long, probably one year. He came here with multiple traumas, with several associated injuries. He won’t necessarily have to undergo further surgery on the hand, but he will if needed.

“I think it is quite difficult now, but you never know. Drivers are always very special patients. I have a lot of motorbike patients and they heal in a much faster way – faster than normal people.”

Kubica’s co-driver, Jakub Gerber, escaped unharmed from the wreckage of the Skoda Fabia S2000, but could not explain how the accident occurred.

“We were driving the first four kilometres of the first trial,” Gerber said. “I was looking at my notes and didn’t notice that the car skidded.

“Only after the moment of impact did I see that Robert was holding his arm and shortly afterward he lost consciousness.”

Many commentators have already mooted a promotion of test driver Bruno Senna into Kubica’s seat for the new season, but Renault could look elsewhere for a more experienced driver given the relative lack of experience in the team.

Nick Heidfeld and Tonio Liuzzi are both experienced drivers, and are currently unattached for the 2011 season, while wilder speculation has linked former McLaren and Ferrari driver Kimi Räikkönen with the seat.

Renault team boss Eric Boullier said: “His hand is injured. It is too early and impolite to think of a replacement driver. We are waiting for news of Robert and how long he will be out of action before we think of taking such a decision.”

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