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Ralf taken to hospital after Monza crash

September 03, 2003 12:09 IST
Last Updated: September 03, 2003 12:51 IST

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Formula One world title contender Ralf Schumacher was taken to hospital on Tuesday after crashing his Williams heavily in testing at Monza.

"He's okay but he's been taken to hospital for further checks," said a team spokeswoman. "He's walking and the engineers are saying he is okay and everything."

Ralf, whose car had caught fire in the Monza pit lane in the morning, went off the track at the first Lesmo corner about two minutes before the close of the session.

Witnesses said his car was badly damaged.Ralf Schumacher

"The cause of the accident is not yet known but is under investigation," said test team manager Tim Newton.

The Autosport website reported that Ralf's older brother Michael, the five-times world champion who was also testing at Monza for Ferrari, went with him to the hospital.

Ralf is fourth in the championship with three races to go, 14 points behind leader Michael. Williams lead Ferrari in the constructors' championship by eight points.

Earlier, marshals hurried to extinguish flames after an apparent oil leak flared up when Ralf came in after his first few laps.

"It was nothing major, it looked worse than it was," said the spokeswoman.

All the Formula One teams are testing at Monza, the venue for next week's Italian Grand Prix.

Ferrari, portrayed as a team in crisis by the Italian media after Schumacher was lapped and finished eighth in the Hungarian Grand Prix, are throwing everything at the tests to regain the title initiative.

Schumacher's bid for a record sixth drivers' crown looks increasingly shaky with two points dividing the top three.

Colombian Williams driver Juan Pablo Montoya is one point behind Schumacher, with Finn Kimi Raikkonen of McLaren a point further back.

McLaren's David Coulthard was fastest on the first day with a lap of one minute 22.065 seconds, according to Williams' timings. Canadian Jacques Villeneuve was second quickest in 1:22.213 for BAR with Ralf third in 1:22.424.

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