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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 August, 2003, 11:18 GMT 12:18 UK
Crash forces Firman out
Firman was taken to hospital by helicopter
Firman was taken to hospital by helicopter
Jordan's Ralph Firman escaped a high-speed crash in practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring.

But the 28-year-old Briton has been ruled out of Sunday's race and will be replaced by Hungary's Zsolt Baumgartner for Saturday's qualifying.

Firman lost his rear wing on one of the fastest parts of the circuit and pirouetted through 360 degrees before slamming sideways into a tyre wall.

The Norwich-born racer got out of the car aided by marshals before going to the track's medical centre.

He was later taken by helicopter to a nearby Budapest hospital for further tests and was found to have an injury to his left heel as well as concussion.

Team boss Eddie Jordan said: "Ralph is going to stay in the hospital for 24 hours for observation."

Firman said in a statement: "I was going fine, had done a couple of laps and all I remember is suddenly I could tell something had happened - the car sped up and felt different but I didn't know why and then almost instantly I was spearing off the track.

"I can't really remember anything between that and then being in the ambulance but more of it is starting to come back to me. I feel absolutely great in the circumstances."

Jordan have launched an investigation into the crash.

Baumgartner has tested for Jordan
Baumgartner has tested for Jordan
The 22-year-old Baumgartner, a Formula 3000 driver, has tested for Jordan before the German and Hungarian races, but has no super-licence and was granted one only after the usual 14-day application period was waived.

The 45-minute practice sesssion was halted after the 150mph crash which happened 16 minues into the session.

It resumed for 15 minutes with Renault's Fernando Alonso setting the fastest time of one minute 22.950 seconds.

The Ferrari of Michael Schumacher was second followed by team-mate Rubens Barrichello.

Ralf Schumacher in his Williams-BMW was fourth and then Jarno Trulli, the fastest in Friday's qualifying, with the second Williams of Juan Pablo Montoya in sixth.

Justin Wilson was 11th in the Jaguar, with the McLaren of David Coulthard 13th and Jenson Button 14th.




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