Coulthard 'suffered three cracked ribs'

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The Independent Online

David Coulthard raced in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix with three cracked ribs following his plane crash in France, his McLaren team revealed yesterday.

They said the British driver, who finished second behind his Finnish team-mate Mika Hakkinen in the race, had a detailed medical inspection at London's Princess Grace Hospital on Tuesday. "The inspection established that David has a bruised right chest wall and that the eighth, ninth and 10th ribs on his right side are cracked," a team statement said.

The injuries are more serious than first thought. The 29-year-old Scotsman was thought to have escaped with heavy bruising and grazes from the crash near Lyon, in which the pilot and co-pilot were killed. Professor Sid Watkins, the Chief medical officer of the sport's governing body, the FIA, was quoted in the statement as saying: "I am absolutely confident that David will race at the European Grand Prix and that these findings will not influence his performance."

The European Grand Prix, the sixth round in the championship, is at the Nürburgring in Germany on 21 May.

Ron Dennis, who runs the McLaren team, said he had no doubt that Coulthard would race despite the problem. "He is not participating in our test at Jerez in Spain this week to allow time for his injuries to heal," he said.

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