Friday’s World Touring Car Championship action at the season-ending Macau round saw SUNRED’s Fredy Barth and Polestar Volvo’s Robert Dahlgren suffer injuries in heavy accidents around the daunting street circuit.
Medical officials have ruled that neither driver will be fit to race on Sunday’s two races.
Barth crashed his SR León at Faraway Hill with just five minutes left to run in the day’s second free practice session.
The impact was heavy enough to knock the Swiss driver unconscious; it is believed that his foot was left on the throttle, causing the car to overheat and subsequently catch fire.
Despite the Macau marshal’s traditional reputation for being very prompt in the event of a crash, they seemed positively pedestrian when it came to assisting Barth and putting out the fire.
Eventually the 31-year-old was removed from the battered car and taken to hospital, where officials confirmed he had suffered smoke inhalation, concussion and bruising to his back. A CAT scan ruled out any further head injuries, and he will be kept overnight for observation.
Dahlgren’s was the second major accident of the day, with his coming in the opening minutes of the second qualifying session.
Entering the Paiol corner, the Swede suddenly locked up and speared straight into the cement wall. The impact also triggered a small fire on the front of his car, and Dahlgren was able to emerge from the wreck unaided, clambering over a crash barrier to safety.
He later reported pains in his right hand and was taken to hospital where he was diagnosed with a broken right thumb, ruling him out of any further action this weekend. It was a disappointing end to what had been a truly impressive first season in the WTCC season for Polestar Volvo and Dahlgren.
[Images via FIA WTCC Media]