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Pizzonia escapes 200mph shunt

Antonio Pizzonia has said that he was lucky not to be hurt in a high-speed accident during final practice for the Italian Grand Prix that left his car badly damaged

The Brazilian, who is standing in for the injured Ralf Schumacher, suffered a suspected front-left brake disc failure at the 200mph entry to Parabolica towards the end of the final practice session on Friday afternoon. He speared off the track and put the car into a deliberate spin to try and scrub off speed but he still the barriers hard with the rear of the car.

Speaking straight after the session, Pizzonia said: "I am okay. Unfortunately we had a front left brake disc failure. It was a big shunt but I am okay.

"It was quite fast and I didn't really see a lot. I tried to brake and there was nothing there. The car went straight and I tried to spin the car so I didn't crash with the front. Luckily I hit with the rear because otherwise I would be hurt now."

The Williams pitched into the barriers rearwards, with most of the damage being suffered on its right rear. Pizzonia said he was mystified about the failure because he had never encountered a similar problem during his time at Williams.

"It is quite strange because I have been at Williams for a long time and I have never had a mechanical failure like this before. The team is checking what happened and hopefully we will be okay for tomorrow and the race."

Pizzonia's crash came at the end of what had been an encouraging day that left him fifth overall, just fourth tenths of a second off Kimi Raikkonen's best time. Williams team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya was seventh.

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