Kubica on the mend doctors says

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Rome, Feb 8 (AFP) Doctors treating Polish Formula Onedriver Robert Kubica, who was seriously injured in ahigh-speed rally crash at the weekend, said it would take atleast six days to ascertain how permanent is the damage to hisright hand.

The 26-year-old Lotus Renault driver was at the wheel ofa Skoda Fabia, taking part in the Ronde di Andora Rally inLiguria in the north-west of Italy, when his vehicle left theroad and crashed into a church wall.

He was airlifted to the Santa Corona hospital in nearbyPietra Ligure where he underwent seven hours of surgery formultiple injuries, the worst of which was to his right handwhich was partially severed by a metal railing.

"We will need at least six days to verify if the blood isproperly circulating in the hand," said Professor Mario IgorRossello, the surgeon who led the operation team.

"His hand is warm which indicates that the operation wentwell and all being well it will take him a year ofre-education to recover the full movement in it."

However, later on Monday there was more reassuring newson his condition as he was able to move the fingers on hisright hand.

"Moving his fingers, added to his general state ofhealth, is what reassures us the most," said Rossello.

"He is conscious and continues to be sedated for thepain."

Flavio Briatore, his flamboyant former manager atRenault, visited the Polish star during the afternoon and saidhe had been relieved the state his friend was in.

"Given the medical bulletins, I thought he was in form.

He is lucid, and even shared a joke. He is a fantastic fellow,a real war machine, and I am sure he will come back quickly."

Kubica is reported to have taken a bend at speed when helost control and hit a guard rail which broke down thedrivers'' door and bent the roll-bar.

His co-driver, Jacub Gerber, emerged from the wreckunhurt but Kubica remained inside until emergency servicesremoved him from the wreckage. More (AFP) AT

A statement issued Monday on the Lotus Renault website said: "Robert''s general condition is much better today.

"The Lotus Renault GP driver was able to talk to hisrelatives.

"Professor Rossello did not notice any swelling orinfection on his right forearm, and this is another good sign,although it will be several days before it is known if theoperation has been 100 percent successful.

"In order to avoid any physical stress, Robert will beput under gentle medication in order to sleep for the next 24hours at least.

"Meanwhile, the doctors will decide how they will treathis elbow and shoulder fractures. Robert may have to undergosurgery once again for this, but not for a few days."

Team principal Eric Boullier defended the decision to letKubica drive in a rally just weeks before the start of the newGrand Prix season in Bahrain on March 13.

"Robert is a true racer, his life is motor racing,"Boullier told BBC Radio 5 Live on Monday. "It was agreedbetween us that he keep doing the rallies because it was partof his balance in his life. We knew the risks of doing therally; he knew it as well. It was agreed together."

Lotus Renault reserve driver Bruno Senna, nephew of thelate three-times F1 world champion Ayrton Senna, is in line toreplace Kubica in Bahrain although the team also have testdriver Romain Grosjean in their ranks.

The rally accident was not the first time Kubica has beeninvolved in a horror crash, after he hit a wall at 300kphduring the Canadian Grand Prix in 2007.

Driving for Sauber, Kubica slid off the circuit andcrashed into a wall, before rebounding across the track in abarrel roll and hitting another barrier.

Kubica, however, was not seriously injured, sustainingnothing more serious than a sprained ankle and slightconcussion. He missed only one Grand Prix after the incident.

(AFP) AT

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