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David Coulthard
"On impact the planes wing tanks ruptured"
 real 28k

Bernard Chaffange, director Lyon Airport
"The plane crashed on the runway when trying to land"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 3 May, 2000, 14:07 GMT 15:07 UK
Coulthard will race in Spain
French police examine the wreckage at Lyon-Satolas Airport
French police examine the wreckage at Lyon-Satolas Airport
British Formula One driver David Coulthard will compete in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix - despite surviving a horrific plane crash.

A spokeswoman for the Scot's McLaren team said Coulthard would be back in his car for Friday's practice session.

On Wednesday the 29-year-old was in the south of France preparing for the weekend's competition at the Barcelona circuit.

He is a professional racing driver and is very focused trying to win this race

McLaren spokeswoman
"David is trying to take stock of what has happened and will be getting ready for the weekend," the spokeswoman said.

"He will be going to Barcelona and he will be in the Spanish Grand Prix.

"He is a professional racing driver and is very focused trying to win this race."

Coulthard won the last race of the 17-match series at Silverstone in Britain to take second place in the drivers' world championship.

The Scot is two points clear of his team-mate, world champion Mika Hakkinen, but 20 adrift of Ferrari's title race leader Michael Schumacher.
David Coulthard
David Coulthard: Miraculous escape

Coulthard, his 26-year-old fiance Heidi Wichlinski and fitness trainer Andy Matthews all survived the Learjet crash at Lyon in France on Tuesday.

David Saunders, 46, who was married with young children, and Dan Worley, a former RAF pilot in his 30s, died instantly.

Coulthard has expressed his deepest sympathies to the families of the dead men.

The McLaren spokeswoman said the driver may contact the families of the two dead British pilots to offer his condolences.

"I am sure he is probably thinking about it but I don't know what he has planned exactly," she said.

"It was the first time he had flown with that particular crew and he didn't know them personally."
Heidi Wincheslki
Heidi Wichlinski: Helped to safety

Former McLaren driver John Watson had no doubts about Coulthard's ability to cope with the shock of the crash.

"David will be in fine shape," he said.

"I think that racing drivers in particular are capable of dealing with great mental and physical stresses and David is coming off the back of a great Grand Prix win at Silverstone 10 days ago.

"He will be thinking very positively about this weekend, and in fact it will be a way for him to put behind him the awful experiences he, his fiancee, his trainer and tragically the two pilots went through in France.

Engine trouble

The Learjet belonged to David Murray, the chairman of Rangers Football Club.

It had taken off from Farnborough airfield in England and was heading for Nice on the French Riviera when the pilot requested an emergency landing at Lyon-Satolas Airport because of engine trouble.
Lyon map
Racing driver was on his way to Nice

David Antrobus, managing director of the plane's operators Northern Executive Aviation promised an investigation.

"The important thing in a tragedy at this time is to establish the cause and we will give every possible assistance that we can to an investigation," he said.

The 2.5m jet was built in 1988, had flown only 4,500 hours and had previously held an immaculate safety record.

Two representatives from the British Air Accident Investigation Branch flew to Lyon to assist their French counterparts into the cause of the crash.

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See also:

03 May 00 | UK
In the wake of disaster
03 May 00 | Scotland
Coulthard survives plane crash
02 May 00 | Motorsport
Coulthard: Scotland's fastest man
23 Apr 00 | Motorsport
Silverstone glory for Coulthard
23 Apr 00 | Motorsport
Mansell inspires Coulthard move
04 Apr 00 | Motorsport
Coulthard loses F1 appeal
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