Robert Kubica's co-driver, Jakub Gerber, has explained how their accident on Sunday's Ronde di Andora rally happened.
The Renault F1 driver remains in intensive care in the hospital in Italy and is due to undergo a second surgery on serious hand and arm injuries and a broken right leg. Gerber explained how their Skoda Fabia was penetrated by a section of barrier after Kubica slid wide into a right-hander.
"We knew the surface was slippery because of the humidity and we were ready," Gerber told Gazzetta dello Sport. "After skidding, the car leaned against the guard rail and pushed it outward. Then it crashed against the following guardrail.
"The guard rail pierced through the car and went all the way through it. I immediately saw it was serious, he also had a bad bruise under his eye after hitting the steering wheel. Robert passed out and I exited through the window because the door was stuck.
"The ambulance arrived immediately and then came the firemen. They took over half an hour to pull him out. The first crew didn't have the shears so they had to wait for another crew. Then the helicopter couldn't land in that spot, so Robert had to be moved and more time was lost."
Gerber was critical of the section of road that had a gap between two sections of barrier, leaving the end of the second exposed. And he also called for increased protection around the cockpit of rally cars.
"That opening [between the two sections of barrier] makes no sense," he said. "But, most of all, we shouldn't have cars with so little protection at the front. It's not the first time a crash like this happens – the Federation should think of something to protect the cockpit."
When asked whether he thought the accident was caused by a car failure or a mistake by Kubica, Gerber replied: "In a competition, you try to go as quickly as possible. Robert is the type of person who thinks hard, always looks a step ahead, he's precise, fast and clean. A complete driver."
Mauro Moreno, who was the driver on the scene running one minute behind Kubica, gave his account.
"It was a horrifying view. I called him by name a couple of times, but he didn't reply," he told Gazzetta dello Sport. "The steel blade was coming out of the hatchback. His co-driver signaled to me he had no problems so I asked Robert if he was OK, too. But he was in a state of semi-consciousness and he couldn't talk."