Stéphane Lefebvre and co-driver Gabin Moreau are expected to return home to France this week to begin planning their WRC return following their terrifying accident at ADAC Rallye Deutschland on Saturday morning.
The pair were flown to hospital after crashing their DS 3 in the long Panzerplatte speed test at the Baumholder military area. The accident destroyed the front of the car, ripping the engine from its bay and dumping it on the road alongside the wreckage.
Moreau was the most seriously hurt, undergoing surgery on a broken left foot as well as fracturing his right leg, left hand and cracking a vertebrae. Lefebvre was able to walk away from the car but he remains in hospital. Both thanked well-wishers for their encouraging support.
“It’s been really touching to get messages of support from our WRC colleagues and from supporters. I’m thinking mainly about when I can get back behind the wheel of a race car. I hope it will be as soon as possible,” said Lefebvre.
“You can never control the outside environment in rallying and on this occasion, we paid a fairly heavy penalty for going off. We’re going to need some time to get back on our feet. The only thing that is really getting to me is the fact I might not be able to take part in the Tour de Corse (29 September - 2 October).”
Lefebvre, who was fastest on one of the two Panzerplatte sprint stages which preceded the near-41km marathon test where he crashed, recalls the accident clearly.
“I had noted a right-hand turn with a corner that could be cut. Given the marks left by the other competitors, I had turned in slightly early but the car drifted onto the outside of the corner and we hit a row of hinkelsteins (huge concrete stones which keep tanks on the roads).
“The last rock turned the car around and sent it flying into the trees. That was what caused the most damage,” he added.
Moreau admitted his injuries could have been worse.
“When you look at the state of the car, I feel pretty fortunate. The survival cell and the various items of equipment did their job, especially the reinforced sections which are not mandatory, but which were added to improve safety for the crew.
“I feel we've had a lot of support, both from the medical staff and from my friends and family. It's going to take a bit of time for the fractures to heal, but I’m determined to recover as quickly as possible. I will also be back in competitive action as soon as I can,” he said.