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    Lotus Renault’s Formula One driver Robert Kubica suffers serious injuries in a high-speed rally crash in Italy.His right hand was partially severed and also suffered arm and leg fractures after his car hit a church wall.Read the full news from Wemotor below.


    Formula One driver Robert Kubica has taken “important steps forward” in his recovery from the serious injuries he suffered in a rally accident yesterday morning.

    That is the view of the Pole’s manager Daniele Morelli, who was speaking this morning after Kubica spent the night in an induced coma following a seven-hour operation to save his right hand.

    Kubica’s hand was partially severed in the accident, which occurred 4.6 kilometres into the first special stage of the Ronde di Andora Rally. He also suffered fractures to his right arm and leg.

    The 26-year-old’s Super 2000 Skoda Fabia left the road and collided with a church, with reports suggesting his injuries were caused by a crash barrier penetrating the driver’s footwell. His co-driver, Jakub Gerber, was unhurt.

    Professor Mario Igor Rossello, who operated on Kubica at the Santa Corona Hospital in Pietra Ligure last night, has said the Lotus Renault driver will take a year to recover from his injuries.

    But Morelli nevertheless confirmed that Kubica’s situation was improving.

    “He is suffering because of the lesions to his leg and arm but the brain activity is okay and we are certainly more relieved than with respect to 24 hours ago,” said Morelli.

    “The doctors have said he has taken important steps forward.”

    It will nevertheless take the best part of a week to finally determine whether yesterday’s operation to rebuild Kubica’s hand was a success.

    Rossello, a specialist hand surgeon, said: “The hand is warm which means the surgery went well. It was a difficult operation.

    “We will need six days to verify if the blood circulation in the limb responds as it should do.”

    Lotus Renault team principal Eric Boullier has defended the decision to allow Kubica to contest a rally so close to the start of the new F1 season.

    “Robert is a true racer, his life is motor racing,” Boullier told BBC Radio 5 Live.

    “It was agreed between us that he keep doing the rallies because it was part of his balance in his life.

    “We knew the risks of doing the rally; he knew it as well. It was agreed together.”

    Boullier echoed Morelli’s view that his driver’s progress had been encouraging, and even refused to rule Kubica out of the whole of the coming F1 season despite the doctors’ forecast of a year on the sidelines.

    “This morning it was really fine – they needed 24 hours to make sure he recovered completely and it looks like this morning they are all happy,” Boullier said.

    “He is definitely out for a couple of months. The recovery will be quicker than one year, but it is a bit early to know exactly how long he will need.”

    With the new F1 season getting under way in Bahrain on March 13, Lotus Renault have a choice to make as to whether they turn to one of their reserve drivers to fill the void.

    Brazilian Bruno Senna, who raced for Hispania last season, and Frenchman Romain Grosjean, who contested seven grands prix for Renault in 2009, are the men in the frame, although the team may yet seek a more experienced head, with both Nick Heidfeld and Vitantonio Liuzzi – both of whom are without a drive for the 2011 season – likely candidates.

    “We are already starting to think and work on a contingency plan,” Boullier added.

    “We don’t know yet, we are actually waiting to know how long it will take because [should it be] a short-term replacement we will take one of our reserve drivers.

    “If he has to be longer we may have to consider different options.”

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