Kubica improving, to undergo two surgeries

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Paris, Feb 8 (AFP) Polish Formula One driver RobertKubica, who was seriously injured in a high-speed rally crashat the weekend, is improving but faces two further operationsto stabilise fractures, his Lotus Renault team said.

The 26-year-old was at the wheel of a Skoda Fabia, takingpart in the Ronde di Andora Rally in Liguria in the north-westof Italy on Sunday, when his vehicle left the road and crashedinto 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.

"Today (Tuesday), Robert''s general condition has onceagain improved," Lotus Renault said in a statement.

"According to the doctors, the levels of inflammation arein the norm considering his medical condition, and therecovery of his forearm remains encouraging."

The team added: "Yesterday, Robert was able to talk tohis doctors and relatives. His medication makes him sleepquite a lot, but he is responding to all external stimulation.

"He has reacted well to the news about his condition andis ready to fight for his comeback.

"On Thursday, Robert should undergo some more surgery inorder to stabilise the fractures to his right shoulder andright foot. Three or four days later, another operation willallow his elbow fracture to be stabilised as well."

Lotus Renault said Kubica would remain at the SantaCorona Hospital for two to three more weeks, with a decisionthen to be taken about where he should go in order to continuehis rehabilitation.

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.

Lotus Renault reserve driver Bruno Senna, nephew of thelate three-time 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) SHN

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