HILL SURVIVES FREAK ACCIDENT
Brands Hatch, England, Monday 26 April 1999: America's Derek Hill, son of the 1961 World Champion Phil Hill was recovering in hospital today following a freak accident on Sunday which saw the former Barber Dodge Champion smash into the barriers at the track's notorious Paddock Hill Bend at over 100mph.
Hill was working his way up the field in round 2 of Britain's prestigious Formula Palmer Audi series when the nosecone of his race car became detached at the fastest point of the track. The nose was sucked under the car and in turn launched it into the air and California Hill was simply a hapless passenger as it smashed into the barrier.
Derek suffered serious concussion in the accident and was unconscious for awhile. The race, won by Richard Lyons of Northern Ireland was red flagged. Hill was initially removed to Queens Mary's Hospital, Sidcup and then transferred to the National Neurological Hospital in London.
Officials there said this morning that he was comfortable and lucid but was awaiting a second brain scan but they hoped to release him later in the day.
The accident was a double blow for Hill in what was a double-header weekend. While the accident occurred in the first of his first two scheduled races at the famous Kent track, a former home to the British Grand Prix, for the second race he had qualified a sensational sixth overall, just 0.2 seconds off the pole and was looking for a podium finish.
Series creator Jonathan Palmer, a former Grand Prix driver said, "We are desperately sorry for Derek, he has been making such great progress. We don't know exactly what happened but we will obviously be making a thorough investigation."
Derek is hoping to be fighting fit for the next two rounds of the series at Mondello Park in Ireland next month.