It was a dramatic end to the fifth round of the FIA ETCR eTouring Car World Cup for Romeo Ferraris driver Bruno Spengler after a crash in his DHL Super Final meant a visit to hospital and subsequent medical attention.
Subsequently diagnosed with a two fractured vertebrae, Spengler outlines what happened in Vallelunga, his treatment and when we can expect to see him back in action.
How was the Vallelunga event going before the crash?
Vallelunga was a unique challenge with the very high temperatures but the team did a great job and once again we had a great car, just like we had a great car in Zolder, even though the two tracks are very different. I was in contention to finish on the podium for the weekend for sure, P2 or P3 was possible. I was running in P2 in the DHL Super Final and unfortunately we had a we had a failure, we’re not 100% sure about the cause, but we had a failure on the real left on the third lap.
This made me lose control of the car in the fast T2 at Vallelunga, and you know the rest. Otherwise, it was again lining up for a very good weekend. I was happy with the performance until then. We had a very competitive car. Definitely, I think we had a chance to win.
How was the crash from behind the wheel?
There was not much I could do. It was really very unexpected, all of a sudden everything happened and I lost control of the car there. I went backwards into the gravel, the rear took off and landed again. When the rear landed I felt a big pain in my back and then the crash finished in the tyre barriers. It was very painful and I wasn’t sure what it was, so I preferred to stay in the car to get some medical attention just to ensure I didn’t injure myself any further.
What can you tell us about the operation and recovery process?
First of all, the medical team at the circuit and the local hospital did a great job. I am lucky that where I live in Strasbourg there is a very good hospital and one of the best professors for this kind of operation is there in this hospital. Professor Gangi performed the surgery himself and I’m very grateful for this and very impressed by all of his team.
Before the surgery, I had heard that with this sort of injury it could take three to four months before you can even think of doing any kind of sports or activities. So that would have been at least four months without race driving. That would have been a really tough one. So I was very lucky that the surgery could take place within four days when I came back home. The process I had divides the recovery time by more than two. It works by injecting a special cement in your vertebrae. Once again to Professor Gangi and his team because I this means won’t miss any of my racing this year.
When can we expect you to be ready to be back behind the wheel?
By the end of August, beginning of September latest I will be 100% fit again to drive a race car. So that’s, that’s amazing news for me and I feel already much better, it’s still a little bit painful, but way less than before the before the operation.
Next I will go to Italy to Formula Medicine to the doctor, and the training centre, that we always go with BMW Motorsport drivers to do my rehabilitation there. I will get also some support there from BMW to be able to recover as quickly as possible. It’s 10 to 12 days there, to make sure I’m 100% fit by the end of August and then things can get rolling again. Full power. I’m moving forward to that and very grateful for this opportunity and for this possibility to recover so quickly.