Dario Franchitti has thanked fans for their support as he recovers from a huge accident at the IndyCar Grand Prix of Houston. The accident, which also injured 13 spectators and an official, happened almost two years after his fellow British IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon was killed at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In both accidents the cars went airborne and into the catch fencing.
Franchitti's Ganassi car caught the back end of Takuma Sato at turn five on the final lap of the race on Sunday and was sent upwards and slid along the fence before returning to the ground. Both cars scattered debris across the track and the remaining competitors were forced to weave through the broken equipment under caution, as had been the case two years ago.
The driver, a three-times winner of the Indianapolis 500, was removed from the car and taken to hospital where he was diagnosed as suffering from concussion, a fractured right ankle and a fractured vertebra. Franchitti has had surgery on the ankle. Target Chip Ganassi Racing said that Franchitti "will remain in Houston for a few days" and then be taken to Indianapolis. Two of the fans were also taken to hospital for treatment.
With positions fixed at the moment of the accident, the race was won by Will Power, who had suffered a broken back in the crash at Las Vegas and admitted it was similar to that incident. "I just saw Dario's car and him sitting in it with a lot of damage, and yes, that's what it reminded me of," Power said. "I hate seeing that. We try to keep these cars on the ground."
IndyCar is likely to investigate the crash thoroughly since, in the wake of Wheldon's death, extensive efforts were made to reduce the chances of the cars leaving the track and hitting the catch fencing.
This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk