It was the biggest shock of the last race in Brazil. With just 30 minutes remaining in the 6 Hours of Sao Paulo, Australian driver Mark Webber was in sixth position in his Porsche 919 Hybrid as he went to overtake lapped cars in the final turn before the start-finish straight. In front of him was Italian driver Matteo Cressoni in the #90 8-Star Ferrari. As he had already done hundreds of times in his race stints, Webber in the #20 Porsche pulled to the left of the racing line to overtake the slower car from the GTE Am class. Suddenly, there was contact between the Ferrari and the Porsche prototype and Webber was sent flying into the exterior wall.
As soon as the extent of the crash was clear, the Race Director decided to send out the safety car. Shortly afterwards, the medical crews were on hand to free the stricken drivers from their cars. The entire track surface was covered in debris and no one was really sure how badly either Webber or Cressoni were injured. While the Ferrari only suffered front-end damage from the impact, the Porsche was practically ripped in two with flames flickering from the rear end. Webber and Cressoni were admitted to hospital immediately, although Porsche tweeted that Webber was “OK”.
Now it has been announced that both drivers were released from hospital in Sao Paulo last night. According to medical staff at the clinic, both Webber and Cressoni suffered concussion and bruising. Given how horrific the accident appeared on television, the pair can be lucky to have escaped further injury. Evaluation of the telemetry and clarification of how the accident happened will take time, as the Porsche 919 Hybrid was severely damaged and Mark Webber cannot entirely recall the incident. The Australian tweeted that he had been “a lucky boy”. The angle of impact, Webber wrote, meant that the safety devices in Webber’s LMP Porsche were able to save his life.
The pair were visited in hospital by a number of renowned guests, including the entire Porsche team management, the race direction team and former F1 drivers Rubens Barrichello and Emerson Fittipaldi. Now Mark Webber and Matteo Cressoni will finally be able to make their journeys home and celebrate the end of the season.
Image source: Porsche Motorsport press material