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Alpine confident for 'good news' in Habsburg injury recovery

Alpine appears confident Ferdinand Habsburg can recover from the back injuries he sustained in testing in time to take part in next month’s Spa round of the World Endurance Championship.

#35 Alpine Endurance Team Alpine A424: Paul-Loup Chatin, Ferdinand Habsburg-Lothringen, Charles Milesi

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

The French manufacturer dropped hints at last weekend’s Imola WEC race that it expects the Austrian to retake his place alongside Charles Milesi and Paul-Loup Chatin in the #35 Alpine A424 LMDh at the Spa 6 Hours on 11 May.

“We are expecting good news from Ferdy this week,” said Philippe Sinault, boss of Signatech squad that runs the factory Alpines.

“We hope he can be with us as soon as possible.

“His environment, the personal one and the medical one also, is very good.”

Asked specifically about the chances of Habsburg being back in the cockpit at the Belgian WEC round, Sinault suggested that a decision could be imminent.

“We will have a clearer view at the end of this week,” he stated.

The entry list for Spa will be published this week, although Habsburg’s presence on it would not necessarily mean he will be in the car for round three of the WEC.

He is still awaiting sign-off from his doctors to get back in a racing car after fracturing two lumbar vertebrae while testing for Alpine at the MotorLand Aragon circuit at the end of March.

Photo by: Alpine

It is understood that he will have a series of scans in the run-up to Spa to assess his recovery from the injuries, which were sustained in a head-on impact at Turn 7 of the Spanish venue.

There is no expectation that Habsburg will be ready to race one week before Spa at the Paul Ricard round of the European Le Mans Series, in which he is contracted to the Cool Racing LMP2 team.

He was replaced by Chatin in the Cool ORECA-Gibson 07 LMP2 in the ELMS opener at Barcelona earlier this month and then by Jules Gounon, Alpine’s official reserve driver, in the A424 at last weekend’s Imola 6 Hours WEC round.

Sinault confirmed that Habsburg’s accident was the result of a problem with the car and not driver error.

“We continue to investigate, but we had a technical issue,” he said.

“Everything is under control; we have worked very hard after this accident, but now it is okay.”

Habsburg's accident curtailed an endurance test, but Sinault insisted that it wasn’t a major problem for Alpine as it builds towards the Le Mans 24 Hours in June.

He revealed that the solo car present at Aragon had already completed 26 of the planned 30 hours and that the test was still a productive one.

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