Kubica's first words: "How is Jakub?"

Robert Kubica (POL), right, and co-driver Jakub Gerber (POL), Renault Clio R3. Intercontinental Rally Challenge, Rd1, Rallye Monte-Carlo, Monaco, 19-23 January 2010.

Robert Kubica and co-driver Jakub Gerber

Feb.7 (PVM)  “How is Jakub?” Are the first words spoken by Robert Kubica when he regained consciousness from an induced coma today.

The Renault F1, driver who sustained grave injuries in an accident during the first stage of the Ronde di Andora Rally in Italy, was referring to Jakub Gerber his co-driver who was in the Skoda which he crashed violently.

The 26-year-old underwent a seven-hour operation at the Santa Corona Hospital in Pietra Ligure after spending at least an hour trapped and unconscious while he was extricated from the wrecked rally car. It is expected that his recovery will take at least three to four months, the healing time for the damaged bone he sustained.

Kubica regained consciousness to the joy and relief of his father and girlfriend who were at the hospital.

His manager David Morelli told the assembled media, “Robert has shown a perfect understanding of everything, his mental capacities are intact and we are extremely relieved.”

Doctors confirmed that Kubica will stay in intensive care for 24-48 hours at the trauma centre and that he would be undergoing further operations for a variety of other injuries he sustained in the accident.

Doctor Giorgio Barabino, director of the trauma centre, said, “We are optimistic, since the patient is responding very well to treatment. Of course, he will feel much pain, but it could not be otherwise.”

He added, “The patient should undergo other operations,  for other problems and injuries sustained which were were not a priority and we could not cope with during the emergency operation.”

Meanwhile Gerber told Gazzetta dello Sport, “We knew the surface was slippery because of humidity. After skidding, the car was leaning against the guard-rail and pushed it outwards. Then it crashed against the next guard-rail.”

“The guard-rail pierced the car and went all the way through it. I immediately saw it was serious, he also had a bad bruise under his eye from hitting the steering wheel. Robert passed out and I escaped through the window because my door was stuck.

“The ambulance arrived immediately and then the firemen., but they took over half an hour to extricate him. The first crew did not have cutters so they had to wait for another crew. Then the helicopter could not land, so Robert had to be moved and more time was lost.”

Gerber pointed out, “That gap in the barriers makes no sense,” he said. “But, most of all, we shouldn’t have cars with little front protection. It’s not the first time a crash like this has happened – the Federation should think of something to protect the cockpit.”

Asked if Kubica could be faulted for the error, Gerber replied, “In competition you try to go as quickly as possible. Robert is the type of person that thinks hard, always looks a step ahead, he is precise, fast and clean. A complete driver.”

Renault statment – 13.30 CET Monday

Robert’s general condition is much better today.

After spending the night under constant observation, he was briefly woken up by the doctors of the Santa Corona Hospital (Pietra Ligure) this morning. The Lotus Renault GP driver was then able to talk to his relatives. He was also able to move his fingers, which is encouraging for the rest of his recovery process.

Professor Mario Igor Rossello, Director for the Regional Centre of Hand Surgery at San Paolo Hospital in Savona, did not notice any swelling or infection on his right forearm, and this is another good sign, although it will be several days before it is known if the operation has been 100% successful.

In order to avoid any physical stress, Robert will be put under gentle medication in order to sleep for the next 24 hours at least. Meanwhile, the doctors will decide how they will treat his elbow and shoulder fractures. Robert may have to undergo surgery once again for this, but not for a few days.

Lotus Renault GP wishes to thank the Hospital of San Paolo (Savona) and the Santa Corona Hospital (Pietra Ligure) for their professional approach and their dedication.