By Steve Keating
INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) – Sebastien Bourdais was back at the Brickyard on Sunday, eight days after a spectacular crash knocked him out of the Indy 500, declaring he would return to the car for the IndyCar season finale.
Bourdais sustained multiple pelvis fractures and a broken right hip when his car slammed nose first into the Turn Two wall at nearly 230 mph during qualifying for the Indy 500 last Saturday destroying his Dale Coyne Racing Honda.
“I don’t think there are a lot of people who can say they survived a head on crash at 227(mph),” Bourdais told reporters. “I don’t know if everybody knows but I was full-throttle when I hit the wall.
“When I saw the wall coming, I was like, ‘Oh, boy: That’s going to be bad’.”
Australian James Davison will take over the Frenchman’s seat for Sunday’s Indy 500 but Bourdais expects to have his spot back for the series finale on Sept. 17 in Sonoma.
If so it would be a remarkable recovery for the 38-year-old Frenchman, who underwent surgery last Saturday and transferred to a rehabilitation center on Wednesday where he immediately began plotting his comeback.
The crash ended what had been a strong start to season for Bourdais, who took the season-opening race at St Petersburg, Florida.
“It is going to be a long process, there is no reason to rush, I am going to need patience and make sure I am ready when it matters and I am shooting for the end of the season and Sonoma,” said Bourdais. “That’s a good target for me to have something in mind.”
Bourdais, a four times Champ Car series champion who had a brief stint in Formula One with Torro Roso, took full responsibility for the crash saying he should have lifted off the throttle.
After hitting the wall Bourdais lost consciousness but was alert as rescue teams removed him from the wreck.
“I looked down to see if something had penetrated me or something because I could feel pain straight away,” said Bourdais. “A lot of pain for five hours that was the time period pretty much from when I crashed and went to surgery.
“I kind of wish I lost consciousness, to be honest, because it was really just a very unpleasant moment.
“I guess it will teach me not to do that again.”
(Editing by Clare Lovell)