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Mann 'back in time for Kentucky'

Pippa Mann is out of racing for the next 4-6 weeks after her crash at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but hopes to be recovered in time for her next two races in IndyCar.
Pippa Mann confirmed on Tuesday that she had suffered two small bone injuries to her vertebrae in the hard crash on Saturday in final practice ahead of qualifying for this weekend's MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The end-plate fracture of the C7 vertebra is expected to require 4-6 weeks of recovery time.

However, with Mann's next scheduled race in IndyCar with Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan Racing not due until Kentucky Speedway on October 2, there is every hope that she will be able to return to racing as planned.

"I should be back in the car not only for Kentucky and Vegas race weekends, but also for a test we have planned in five weeks," she wrote on the website of her sponsor nov.us.

Mann lost the rear end of the #30 car on Saturday afternoon at a time when everyone was struggling with difficult slippery conditions out on track, and hit the concrete wall backwards hard out of turn 2. Although she was not immediately placed on a backboard or in a neck brace and walked away from the car, she was subsequently moved to a stretcher and taken to the local hospital in Concord for further evaluation.

She was not cleared to compete in Sunday's race and instead underwent more tests and an MRI when she returned to Indianapolis on Monday. She listed her injuries as "pretty decent concussion, nice swollen ankle, knee ..." but it was the ongoing back pain that was the principle concern of the doctors.

She's the second British driver to sustain a back injury in recent weeks in IndyCar practice sessions, with Justin Wilson being diagnosed with a stable burst fracture of his fifth thoracic vertebrae after running off wide at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course at the beginning of the month. Mann's injury is fortunately not as serious as Wilson's, who will be out of racing for the rest of the IndyCar season.

A string of replacements have been lined up for Wilson by his Dreyer & Reinbold team, beginning with Simon Pagenaud and Tomas Scheckter. Former F1 driver Giorgio Pantano was announced as the stand-in for two of the three remaining street courses left in the season, at Infineon Raceway and Baltimore.

Mann by contrast will not need a replacement, as her deal with RLL was for three oval races - New Hampshire, Kentucky and the season finale at Las Vegas. The six intervening weeks of road courses before then (including the fly-away race to Motegi on September 17) should give her the necessary recuperation time without affecting her or the team's race plans.



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