Indycar racer Dario Franchitti has suffered a fractured spine following a horrific accident at the Grand Prix of Houston over the weekend.
Franchitti in huge crash at Houston GP
Indycar racer admitted to hospital following contact with Takuma Sato
The four-time series champion and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner came into contact with Takuma Sato during the final lap of race 2, causing his car to flip up and into the catch fencing.
"On the last lap I caught the marbles and brushed the wall and lost momentum," said Sato after the accident. "A couple cars passed me as I was offline and in Turn 5. I got very loose and Dario and I came together." EJ Viso was also caught up in the accident, and both he and Sato were evaluated on the scene and later released.
Meanwhile, Franchitti was admitted to hospital awake, and suffered a concussion, a spinal fracture that will not require surgery, and a fracture to his right ankle, according to Indycar medical director Dr Michael Olinger.
Another Indycar official and two spectators were also transported to hospital for further evaluation, while 11 further spectators were treated at the track.
Franchitti's former team-mate Dan Wheldon died in a similar crash at the Las Vegas Indy 300 in October 2011. Will Power - who eventually won in Houston - said the crash brought back memories of that tragic race. "I just saw Dario's car and him sitting in it with a lot of damage," he said, "and yes, that's what it reminded me of.
"I hate seeing that. We try to keep these cars on the ground."