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GP Week : Issue 161
Marcus Gronholm was dicharged from the California Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles on Saturday after a serious crash at the invitation rallycross X-Games race in Los Angeles the previous weekend. Gronholm was stay in California for the weekend before making plans to return home to Finland. The team has stated that his recuperation programme forbids him from contesting the next round of the Global Rally Cross series. “It is not until you need this kind of skill amd care that you realise how brilliant the medical profession is, and I cannot praise them highly enough for fixing my up, said Marcus, who will now focus on returing to full physical fitness. Drivers protested the course for the X-Games after two frightening accidents in practice. Firstly Finnish driver Toomas Heikkinen misjudged an open jump, a typical feature of American rallycross, and his car impacted head-on the structure on which he had to land. His car bounced back and landed heavily below the jump on its roof. He suffered a broken ankle and is reported to have internal injuries. That was on a test run, but shortly after wards as soon as the full course was opened for testing, Gronholm drove straight on after the jump into a concrete structure which was standing proud of the protective rail. Gronholm had head injuries and was unconscious for some time. Meetings between drivers and organisers resulted in the gap over which the cars had to jump being filled. The cause of Gronholm’s accident is not known for certain, but drivers are said not to have the opportunity to check that part of the course before the test run, and it is reported he could have been blinded by low sunlight. Both Heikkinen and Gronholm were driving similar Fiesta Rallycross cars. The event was run after safety precautions were carried out, won by Sebastien Loeb in a 545bhp 2-litre rally cross version of a DS3, after which Loeb said : “I must admit I’m finding it hard to really enjoy it when my ‘best enemy’ Marcus is in hospital. We were both very much looking for ward to racing against each other.” This was Loeb’s first rallycross competition. GRONHOLM HOME AFTER MEGA-CRASH WRC >>> NEWS 15 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: