Gigi Galli will be out of the World Rally Championship for five months following his high-speed accident in the fifth stage of Rallye Deutschland today.
The Italian was taken to Barmherzige Hospital close to rally headquarters in Trier where his fractured left femur will be operated on this evening.
A source close to the Stobart Ford driver said: "The doctors have said it will be five months before he is ready to compete again. It's a great shame for Gigi."
If Galli's recovery does take the full five months, he won't drive again until next February's 2009 World Rally Championship opener, Rally Ireland.
In the meantime, the Stobart team will have to make a quick decision about who replaces Galli for Rally New Zealand, which starts in Hamilton 11 days after the finish of Rallye Deutschland.
Replacing Galli for the the North Island event will not be a straightforward process. Matthew Wilson is already listed as a potential Stobart point-scorer, while Henning Solberg has been drafted into the Munchi's outfit.
Francois Duval, running in the Stobart team in Germany is one possibility, as is Briton Barry Clark, who stepped into replace Munchi's driver Luis Perez Companc when the Argentinian was forced home on business earlier in the season.