Teen driver fine after fracturing spine in Macau GP crash

Race personnel and pit crew extricating German driver Sophia Florsch after she flew over the barriers and crashed into a photographers' bunker at high speed during the Formula Three race at yesterday's Macau Grand Prix. The 17-year-old will undergo s
Race personnel and pit crew extricating German driver Sophia Florsch after she flew over the barriers and crashed into a photographers' bunker at high speed during the Formula Three race at yesterday's Macau Grand Prix. The 17-year-old will undergo surgery this morning.PHOTO: REUTERS
Race personnel and pit crew extricating German driver Sophia Florsch after she flew over the barriers and crashed into a photographers' bunker at high speed during the Formula Three race at yesterday's Macau Grand Prix. The 17-year-old will undergo s
Race personnel and pit crew extricating German driver Sophia Florsch after she flew over the barriers and crashed into a photographers' bunker at high speed during the Formula Three race at yesterday's Macau Grand Prix. The 17-year-old will undergo surgery this morning.PHOTO: REUTERS

MACAU • Formula Three driver Sophia Florsch suffered a spinal fracture following a huge accident at the Macau Grand Prix, her team confirmed yesterday.

The Van Amersfoort Racing driver lost control going into the Lisboa bend before flying over the barriers and into a photographers' bunker at high speed, but tweeted afterwards to assuage fears for her well-being.

"Just wanted to let everybody know that I am fine but will be going into surgery tomorrow morning," the 17-year-old German, who racing website Motorsport.com said was taken to hospital in a conscious state, wrote on Twitter.

"Thanks to everybody for the supporting messages. Update soon."

Sophia's team also corroborated her assertion that she was "fine" by tweeting a medical report from the Conde S. Januario Hospital.

Japanese driver Sho Tsuboi, who Floersch crashed into, was taken to hospital with back pain and organisers added that two photographers and a marshal were also warded.

Pole-sitter Daniel Tiktum was leading the race when it was stopped. The British defending champion eventually retained his title after leading every lap.

Videos of the accident posted online showed that race cars had been negotiating a right turn when Sophia's car suddenly hurtled in the air above the tracks, before striking Tsuboi's car and crashing into the fencing. According to news.com.au, she had lost control of her car moments earlier, hitting the inside wall of the track.

Sophia is seen as one of the rising stars in motor sports, and had previously raced in Formula Four, an open-wheel racing car category for junior drivers.

The fencing of the race track was repaired and, after a delay of over an hour, the race was restarted.

Her crash had been the second stoppage in the race, which was earlier halted owing to a multiple car pile-up.

REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 19, 2018, with the headline 'Teen driver fine after fracturing spine in Macau GP crash'. Print Edition | Subscribe