THIS is the frightening moment IndyCar driver Robert Wickens’s vehicle violently spins in mid-air and crashes into a fence after clipping another car on the track.
The 29-year-old Canadian driver was airlifted to hospital with “orthopaedic injuries” after the horror crash at the Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania on Sunday.
He was attempting to pass Ryan Hunter-Reay during the ABC Supply 500 Series when the two cars slightly touched and were pulled into the wall.
Wickens’ car then went soaring over the top, and spun several times before smashing into the side fence and shredding the car to pieces across the tracks.
It took rescue workers about 12 minutes to free Wickens from the mangled wreck and take him to an ambulance before he was transported to the helicopter.
He is being treated at Lehigh Valley Cedar Crest Hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where medics say he is “awake and alert”.
Alexander Rossi won the race and said it was “tough to celebrate” with Wickens in the hospital.
The impact of the wreck also tore out a large section of fencing that needed almost two hours to repair.
Wickens’ teammate James Hinchcliffe was also caught up in the terrifying collision along with Pietro Fittipaldi and Takuma Sato.
Hinchcliffe seemed to be in pain, grabbing his wrists as he slowly left his car but was assessed and later released from the medical centre.
Driver Sebastien Bourdais said: “That’s the worst thing you can see. He’s hurt. He’s awake and alert and at least he’s alive.”
The race was delayed nearly two hours and only eight laps in the 500-mile race had been completed when Wickens crashed.
Rahal tweeted: “We can only hope one thing, that Robbie, Hinch and everyone involved is ok.
“These are the dangers we face, but we always hate to see it. The start can be debated for years, but doesn’t matter right now, focus on the well-being of our friends and competitors.”
Wickens and Hinchcliffe, both part of the all-Canadian team, raced each other as youngsters in Toronto.
Hinchcliffe, runner-up on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars in 2017, helped lure Wickens to IndyCar this season after a successful career in Europe.
He survived his own life-threatening injury when a broken part from his car pierced an artery during a 2015 crash at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The 31-year-old would have bled to death if not for the medical team holding the artery together as it raced him from the track directly to a hospital.
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A year earlier, he suffered a concussion when he was hit in the helmet by a piece of debris on the road course at Indianapolis.
Wickens had reeled off five straight top-five finishes and matched a career-best second in the last race at Mid-Ohio.
In 2015 at the same racetrack, Justin Wilson died from a head injury when a piece of debris from a crashed car bounced off the track and hit his helmet.
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