Emery suffers broken vertebra in GT crash
Geoff Emery has sustained a broken vertebra as a result of his nasty crash in the Australian GT Championship event at Barbagallo Raceway.
Medical staff at Royal Perth Hospital confirmed the injury after the driver underwent MRI scans and X-Rays.
Emery confirmed to Speedcafe.com that he has fractured his L1 vertebra and is expected to face a lengthy period on the sidelines.
A surgical meeting has been called for tomorrow morning where doctors will determine the type of operation required.
“The surgeons are going to decide how they will tackle the operation, whether it is a fusion or rods inserted or whatever to solve the problem,” Emery told Speedcafe.com.
“It is a fairly severe break which is the problem. There is a bit of floating bone close to the spinal cord so that is the big issue at this point.
“I’ve got movement in fingers and toes and everything is all working okay at the moment.”
Emery is expected to remain in hospital for another two weeks before he can be moved to his native Melbourne.
The experienced Victorian racer was visited by European-based Audi factory driver Marco Bonanomi, who was acting as his substitute co-driver at the meeting.
The Australian GT regular suffered a heavy impact when his Audi R8 GT3 slammed into the Turn 7 wall during the opening lap of Sunday’s 60 minute GT encounter.
Emery says slight contact with Roger Lago’s Lamborghini through Turn 7 damaged the steering arm on the car which contributed to the accident.
Officials elected to suspend the race while medical crews attended to Emery who was suffering from lower back pain in the aftermath of the crash.
Audi Sport Customer Racing Australia boss Troy Russell felt the R8 GT3 stood up well to the impact.
Russell said medical teams took extreme care while extricating Emery.
The new R8 GT3 has a rescue hatch built into the roof which was removed in order to help fit a neck brace. Officials removed the doors before extricating him from the Audi.
“The medical crews tended to the car for a long time to stabilise him with painkillers while he was in the car,” Russell told Speedcafe.com.
“He was in quite a bad way. He knew he had done something to his back.
“They had to take every precaution to make sure it was right before they moved him.
“The car did a tremendous job (from a safety point of view). The seat held up and everything is intact inside the car.”
Russell is confident the car will be repaired in time for the next round of the championship at Phillip Island from May 27-29, which doubles up as a sprint meeting alongside the opening round of the endurance series.
The Melbourne operation has already put a list together of parts required from Germany which are expected to leave Europe this week.
“The car stood up quite well and we are already on the case on getting it fixed as we have got two weeks to turn it around,” added Russell.
“There is no damage to anything else other than the front of the car. All the front chassis rails need repairing so we are just trying to get it ready for Phillip Island.”