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Crash Forces Firman From Hungarian GP

August 23, 2003

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) _ Ralph Firman suffered a concussion in a crash during practice Saturday that forced him out of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Firman’s Jordan lost a rear wing on a long straightaway, causing him to lose control of the car and hit a tire barrier. The 28-year-old Irishman, in his first year in Formula One racing, was briefly knocked unconscious.

``Ralph is going to stay in the hospital for 24 hours for observation. That is perfectly routine. Professor Watkins, the FIA medical delegate, reported that Ralph made a very quick recovery,″ said team boss Eddie Jordan.

The crash occurred on the second longest straightaway of the Hungaroring circuit where the cars were approaching 125 mph. Firman’s car spun and went onto the grass, went backward almost 110 yards and then hit the barrier.

``All I remember is suddenly I could tell something had happened,″ Firman said in a Jordan team statement. ``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 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 and I’m just disappointed for the team and for myself that I’m missing the race,″ Firman said.

Firman also severely bruised his heel in the wreck.

``He was briefly unconscious but soon started to recover and was trying to get out of the car on his own,″ Watkins said. ``He was concussed but soon recognized me and behaved normally. The fact that his head injury was so minor is a tribute to the construction of the car and the safety measures of the cockpit,″ Watkins said.

Jordan also said that Hungarian Zsolt Baumgartner would replace Firman in qualifying later Saturday.

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