Kovalainen crashes heavily in Spanish Grand Prix

The safety car had to be brought out for the second time during the race.

BARCELONA // McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen crashed heavily in the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday, bringing out the safety car for the second time.

The Finn, who was leading the race after both Ferraris and team mate Lewis Hamilton had pitted, speared straight into the tyre wall at speed on the 22nd of 66 laps with the car penetrating the barrier.

Doctors attended to Kovalainen, who was extracted from the car before being taken away on a stretcher in a neck brace. The Finn gave a thumbs-up sign to the crowd.

Kovalainen was taken to the circuit medical centre and was in a stable condition, the ruling International Automobile Federation (FIA) said.

Television footage showed the front left tyre suddenly deflating moments before the car left the track.

The safety car had already been out after Sebastian Vettel's Toro Rosso and Force India's Adrian Sutil collided on the first lap.

Published: April 27, 2008 04:00 AM