Gachnang Accident Curtails First GT1 Qualifying Session

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The opening qualifying session for the FIA GT1 World Championship was cut to only a third of its intended length after driver Natacha Gachnang suffered a heavy crash.

The Swiss, driving a Matech Competition prepared Ford GT, appeared to go straight on at turn eight of the Abu Dhabi track, the left hander at the end of the kilometre long straight, her car disappearing down the run-off area under the grandstand and into the safety barriers.

Safety crews reported Gachnang, whose cousin Sebastien Buemi had already hit the headlines for his own accident in China, was conscious when they reached the accident. She was taken to the track's medical centre where she was treated for a broken leg, the FIA Medical delegate has confirmed her condition is not life threatening.

A cameraman was also hurt, suffering a broken nose when he was hit by his camera.

The crash happened towards the end of the series F1-alike three part qualifying, the session quickly being suspended before the rest of the session was cancelled.

The decision meant that the grid for the hour long qualifying race tomorrow was set by the standings at the time of the accident, handing GP2 refugee Andreas Zuber pole position in the Phoenix/Carsport Corvette he shares with German Marc Hennerici. However, even if the pair win the qualifying race tomorrow they, and the other three Corvettes on the grid will be given a ten place grid penalty.

The Hexis Aston Martin of Fred Makowiecki and Jean-Denis Delatraz will start second ahead of the first of the Maserati MC12s, the Vitaphone car piloted Enrique Bernoldi and Miguel Ramos. The best of the Young Driver AMR team will start from eighth, one place ahead of the fastest of Nissan GT-R.

The no.6 car Gachnang was meant to have split with Cyndie Allemann would start 21st in the 24 car field, though the car will no doubt be pulled out of the round. Their teammates – former F1 driver Romain Grosjean and Thomas Mutsch will start 11th.

The qualifying race starts at 4pm local time, with the main race at 7:45pm. You can watch both races live on

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