Wickens airlifted to hospital after violent Pocono IndyCar crash

Robert Wickens has been airlifted to hospital after a vicious crash in the opening laps of the Pocono IndyCar race

IndyCar officials reported that Wickens was awake and alert, but no further details of his condition were released.

The race was red-flagged for two hours due to substantial damage to the catchfencing in the crash.

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver Wickens was challenging Ryan Hunter-Reay's Andretti Autosport Dallara-Honda for fourth place through Turn 2 when his right-front wheel made contact with the left-rear of the Andretti machine.

The light impact was enough to push Hunter-Reay into a spin and hard into the wall, while Wickens's car launched over Hunter-Reay's machine and spun viciously along the top of the SAFER barrier, tearing up the catchfence and leaving parts of sidepod and a wheel in the fence as it went.

Wickens's car stayed upright and landed back on the track.

Other drivers involved in the ensuing chain-reaction crash included Wickens's team-mate James Hinchcliffe - who spun to avoid him but was struck hard by the Dale Coyne Racing Dallara-Honda of Pietro Fittipaldi.

Takuma Sato was sprayed by oil from the stricken machines and also crashed into the wall.

Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe - apparently in pain - Fittipaldi and Sato all emerged from their cars unaided.

Sato and Hunter-Reay were quickly released from the medical centre, while Hinchcliffe and Fittipaldi underwent further checks before also being declared fit.

Fittipaldi only returned to IndyCar action in the last round at Mid-Ohio after his leg-breaking crash in the World Endurance Championship event at Spa in May.

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