World Touring Car Championship rivals Gabriele Tarquini and Yvan Muller have both been released from the hospital following a huge accident in the final qualifying session for this weekend's season finale at Macau.
The factory SEAT teammates were separated by just two points heading into the title-deciding races this weekend, but both crashed out in the Q2 shoot-out of a frantic qualifying session. Muller lost control of his Leon TDi on cement dust that had been laid following an accident in the earlier Q1 session involving Stefano D'Aste and James Thompson. Tarquini arrived on the scene and, unsighted by the cloud of dust, slammed into his teammate's car and was himself hit by Alain Menu's Chevrolet.
Muller was extricated from his car and taken to the hospital wearing an oxygen mask after inhaling fumes when his fire extinguisher deployed, but he waved to signal that he was OK from the back of the ambulance. Tarquini was taken to the hospital to be checked after the substantial front-on impact.
James Thompson was also taken to the hospital for a check-up after complaining of feeling unwell following his accident in Q1. Stefano D'Aste had spun and abandoned his BMW at Faraway Bend, where it was to be left until the end of the session. But 15 minutes later, Thompson got out of shape approaching the corner and smashed head-on into the side of D'Aste's car.
All three drivers were released from the hospital on Friday evening and will have to pass medical tests tomorrow afternoon before being cleared for Sunday's races.
Muller and Tarquini will start Sunday's first race seventh and eighth, respectively, after failing to set times in Q2, along with Menu, while Rickard Rydell will start 10th after missing the Q2 session due to damaging his car in a separate accident at the end of Q1.
BMW's Augusto Farfus is 13 points behind Tarquini and 11 behind Muller, but will start race one from third behind teammate Andy Priaulx and polesitter Rob Huff.