Lotus Racing driver Heikki Kovalainen was momentarily knocked unconscious after suffering a big accident while competing in the Race of Champions event at Dusseldorf in Germany.

The Finn’s return to the event that he famously won in 2004 proved to be something of a downer when he crashed heavily in the afternoon’s first heat.

After narrowly losing his heat in the Audi R8 to multiple WRC title holder Sébastien Loeb, Kovalainen clipped the barriers at the final corner and broke his car’s rear suspension.

On his slow-down lap, he was pitched into a spin as he braked for the left-hander, destroying the inside barriers (and luckily avoiding Loeb in the process) before crashing backwards at high speed into the fixed outer barriers.

Fortunately Kovalainen and his passenger – his girlfriend, Catherine Hyde, no less! – were uninjured, but the Finn withdrew from further competition for precautionary medical checks after admitting he had been knocked unconscious for about thirty seconds.

For the record, the event was – surprisingly! – won by Portuguese driver Filipe Albuquerque, who beat Loeb in the finale.

The Nation’s Cup event was – again – won by Germany, with the pairing of Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher beating the British pairing of touring car stars Andy Priaulx and Jason Plato.

[YouTube clips via Race of Champions]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.