Former DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom does not believe the broken wrist he has sustained will prove a major setback to his title hopes this year.
The Swede suffered a hairline fracture in his wrist when he fell awkwardly while playing volleyball with his teammates during Audi's preseason training camp. The incident occurred 10 weeks before the start of the DTM season, and doctors have predicted that it will take eight weeks for the injury to heal.
Ekstrom has been receiving treatment at the Swiss Olympic medical center. While he is pleased with the progress so far, he is also aware of the problems caused by being out of action for so long.
"I'm in good hands here," said the 32-year-old. "[The wrist] isn't painful anymore and there's hardly any pressure from the cast. But this isn't just a good sign it also shows how quickly the hand is losing muscle mass.
"Nothing has changed, I'm still completely motivated. Of course, it would be good to have a few more kilometers under my belt, especially with the new Hankook tires. However, when I was still a complete novice in the DTM I wasn't able to test much. So it's a little bit like back to my roots."
Ekstrom added that he knew he had sustained serious damage as soon as he fell during the volleyball game, and he has vowed to do all he can to take the DTM title back from Mercedes this year.
"On the way down, I put my left hand out, and when I hit the ground I knew immediately that something was wrong," he said. "It felt like 2000 volts pushing through the hand.
"I will give 100 percent in every race. Whether or not this will be enough to be champion remains to be seen but this is obviously the target."
Ekstrom's wrist will remain in a cast for a further two weeks. Once the cast is removed, he will move on to four weeks of rehabilitation.