ASTC: Morris aims to race at Winton

THURSDAY, AUGUST 3: Injured BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship leader Paul Morris said today he aimed to race in the fourth round of the series later this month, despite suffering three broken vertebrae in his fire-laced crash at...

THURSDAY, AUGUST 3: Injured BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship leader Paul Morris said today he aimed to race in the fourth round of the series later this month, despite suffering three broken vertebrae in his fire-laced crash at Oran Park in Sydney last Sunday.

The 33-year-old said he planned to be sufficiently recovered to race his Mount Cotton Estate Winery BMW 320i at Winton Raceway in Victoria on August 27. He has also not given up hope of making his comeback in a V8 Supercar event at Calder Park in Melbourne on August 20.

Morris, a triple national Super Touring champion and unbeaten in this year's series, said he was keen to race at Winton to protect his 50-point lead over Sydney's teenager Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo driver Alan Gurr.

"I'll be doing everything possible not to so miss any races, whether it's Super Touring or V8s, and it's especially important to be at Winton or the others will close the gap in the points," said Morris.

He was discharged from Liverpool Hospital in Sydney yesterday and returned to Queensland's Gold Coast for treatment on the injuries received in his start-line collision with Mark Larkham in a V8 Supercar race.

Morris said he had been informed by doctors it would be six weeks before he was fully recovered, although he could race before then if he was prepared to drive in discomfort.

"My back has been really sore since the crash, and x-rays confirmed I'd broken three vertebrae," he said.

"It hurts when I walk, but I think I can race before six weeks is up although there could still be some pain."

"I'll be getting the best possible treatment from specialists to speed up my recovery."

Morris said his back injuries were caused by the fire extinguisher inside his Holden Commodore smashing through his seat when the car was hit from behind by Larkham's Ford Falcon after the start of the third and final race at Oran Park.

Within seconds of impact the two cars were engulfed by fire, and Morris collapsed after struggling out of his Commodore.

"I knew it was the biggest crash I'd ever had in a race car, but the worst part was when I saw the flames because I just had to get out of there even though my back was hurting," he said.

"I can't remember too much more until I was lying on the ground and the medical people were treating me before they took me to hospital."

Morris, who was confined to a wheelchair when he arrived at Coolangatta Airport yesterday after a flight from Sydney, said the accident had not curbed his desire to continue racing.

"Crashes are part of racing and you have to accept what happens being realistic it could have been worse if I hadn't been able to get out of the car," he said.

Mike Porter mikep@qldnet.com.au

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Series General
Drivers Mark Larkham , Paul Morris , Alan Gurr