Chelsea Herbert out of TRS after Teretonga qualify crash
Young Kiwi Chelsea Herbert suffered a stable fractured vertebrae following a crash in the second round of the Toyota Racing Series at Teretonga.
Chelsea Herbert, coming from a solid formula car debut at Highlands Motorsports Park last weekend in the Toyota Racing Series, was set to continue her progresses and learning curve at Teretonga, for the second round of the premier single-seater championship in New Zealand.
Friday practice showed some more promising signs from the 21-year old, as the Auckland native further reduced her gap from the experienced front-runners.
Unfortunately though, a qualifying crash called off the rest of her season: as soon as the lights went green for the Saturday official qualifying session, Chelsea's car violently steered on the right and hit hard the tyre barrier on the main straight.
The session was immediately red flagged and the safety workers were on the scene promptly to assist the Giles Motorsport driver. The circuit medical team extricated Herbert, who remained conscious and responsive throughout. She was taken to hospital, complaining of back pain.
The official statement from the series says that: "after further examination and CT scan, it was confirmed that she had suffered a stable fracture in one of her vertebrae. She does not require surgery and is expected to be released from hospital within a day or two."
While an unfortunate outcome for the remainder of the TRS season, the angle of impact could have caused far more serious injuries.
“The whole of our team, the family, Chelsea’s sponsor MTF Finance and Toyota Gazoo Racing would like to acknowledge the medical and rescue teams for their efforts.” - commented Mark Herbert, Chelsea's father. “We’re very disappointed to lose such a talented driver at this point of the championship and everyone wishes her all the best for a swift recovery and a return to the racing we know she loves.” - added Toyota executive Andrew Davis.
"That was a fun experience while it lasted." - wrote Chelsea through her social media feeds.
"Thanks for all your kind messages of support. Unfortunately I’m out of action for the next 6-8 weeks with a fractured vertebrae. Could’ve been a lot worse. Hopefully I’ll be both back home in Auckland by the end of the week & walking with the support of a brace in a few days."
"Thank you to MTF Finance, for helping me get into TRS this season, that in itself was a massive goal for me and thank you for making that become a reality. Thank you to all of the safety crew for helping me get out of the car so safely."
The first race of the weekend was won by Brazilian Caio Collet, claiming his maiden championship victory after last weekend's penalty. Saucy and Fraga completed the podium, while championship leader Lawson could not finish better than sixth. The second and third races of the Teretonga round will be contested on Sunday at 11:42 and 16:06 (local time) respectively.
In Chelsea's words:
"Unfortunately I’m out of action for the next 6-8 weeks with a fractured vertebrae. Could’ve been a lot worse."
Ph Credits: Castrol Toyota Racing Series