McNish Escapes Injury after Dramatic Crash

Scot Allan McNish escaped unhurt after a horrifying accident that saw his car appear to break up, half of it jumping the barriers, as he lost control on the exit of the 130R turn during Saturday's qualifying for Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix.

McNish Escapes Injury after Dramatic Crash

Scot Allan McNish escaped unhurt after a horrifying accident that saw his car appear to break up, half of it jumping the barriers, as he lost control on the exit of the 130R turn during Saturday's qualifying for Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix.

The 32-year-old Briton was able to climb from the wreckage - the rear of the car was destroyed and all the wheels were badly damaged following the impact backwards into the barriers - and walk away, helped by marshals, before he sat down and then lay on the grass.

The session was red-flagged and halted with 25 minutes of the hour remaining and McNish in 18th position, more than three seconds slower than the fastest man, Michael Schumacher, in his Ferrari.

"He was able to wave to the crowd afterwards and we were glad to see that," said McNish's Toyota team boss Ove Andersson. "He just got out of there as fast as he could and we knew he was okay only from listening to his breathing on the radio."

The massive shunt threw a dark cloud over a day already rocked by various controversies as Minardi team boss Paul Stoddart threatened to quit Formula One and Max Mosley, the president of the sport's ruling body, explained the controversial package of ideas he hopes will rekindle excitement and halt slumping crowds and television audiences.

McNish's accident came after 35 minutes of the qualifying session and only a few moments after quintuple World Champion Michael Schumacher had recorded the fastest time of the day.

His car appeared to veer across the kerb at the side of the track before spinning off and bouncing out of a gravel trap and backwards into the trackside barriers where it disintegrated.

The barriers also gave way and the car cut an ugly and gaping gash through the protective barrier. Much of the rear of the car was on the grass bank on the outside of the track while the rest remained inside where McNish had struggled for control at high speed on the exit of Dunlop.

McNish staggered away and, clearly badly shaken, sat on the grass bank with his head in his hands before sinking backwards and lying down prone. Eventually he was able to stand and wave. The Scot, however, will miss the rest of the session.

An official announcement said that the damage would take at least 45 minutes to be repaired and the session would not restart until it was completed.

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