Motor Racing: First for Donnelly

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The Independent Online
MARTIN DONNELLY will next week take an important step in what he hopes will be a return to Formula One racing, when he drives a grand prix car for the first time since the 150mph crash which almost claimed his life, writes Derick Allsop.

The 28-year-old Ulsterman has his long-promised opportunity in a Jordan-Hart, at Silverstone. A full-time comeback at this level, however, is still not imminent.

Donnelly, who suffered severe injuries when his Lotus hit a barrier in practice for the 1990 Spanish Grand Prix, said: 'Eddie Jordan promised me just a few weeks after my accident that he would make one of his cars available to me as soon as I felt I was up to it.

'I set myself a challenge there and then to keep him to his promise, and having that goal to aim for has been a great motivation.'

Donnelly's leg injuries still restrict his ability to climb out of a Formula One cockpit at speed, a necessary requirement for a World Championship drive.

Lotus, meanwhile, are reported to be involved in a legal tug of war with McLaren over the services of the Finnish driver Mika Hakkinen. Lotus say they have a binding agreement with him, but McLaren, who may lose Ayrton Senna, are said to be challenging the claim before Formula One's contract registration board, in Geneva.