Lotus Racing F1 ace Heikki Kovalainen was momentarily knocked unconscious after spectacularly losing control of an Audi R8 LMS sportscar during the 2010 Race of Champions in Düsseldorf, Germany at the weekend – though thankfully, without sustaining any injuries.
Kovalainen was competing against record-breaking multiple World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb in the very first heat of the annual end-of-season extravaganza when he suffered a huge accident after the chequered flag had fallen, breaking his car's suspension after clipping the side of the course and sending him into a half-spin. He subsequently ploughed through the barriers and straight into the outside concrete wall, coming perilously close to swiping out a startled Loeb for good measure as his R8 wound up in rather a sorry state.
As a result of the hefty impact, the Finn – who stunned observers by triumphing on his inaugural RoC appearance in Paris in 2004 as a comparative unknown back then, and was returning for the first time since – required a precautionary trip to hospital for a check-up, whilst his British girlfriend Catherine Hyde, who was a passenger in the car at the time, emerged happily unscathed.
“Had an eventful Sunday, hardcore shunt with throttle jammed and rear suspension damaged, got knocked out, now some medical check-ups,” the 29-year-old wrote on Twitter
, later adding: “I am fine luckily, no injuries, and also my girlfriend is fine.
“It was a major shunt and it started from a touch of the wall just before the finish line. I tried to use every inch of the circuit and I just kissed the wall. Then I was a passenger as I hit the wall at the first corner. It was a decent shunt.”
To watch the video of Kovalainen's dramatic accident, click here