Lopez forced to sit out Spa WEC race

Toyota driver Jose Maria Lopez will not take part in this weekend’s WEC 6 Hours of Spa, as he recovers from his crash during last month’s Silverstone opener.

Lopez forced to sit out Spa WEC race
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez
Pole position for #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez, Mike Conway
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez back to the garage

The three-time WTCC champion suffered a major incident on his debut WEC race in the #7 TS050 Hybrid, impacting the barriers at Copse during a rain shower.

He was able to get the damaged car back to the pits, where it spent over an hour in the garage for repairs before taking the finish some 38 laps down on the victorious sister Toyota - albeit still scoring points for fourth place in the LMP1 class.

However, Lopez was taken to hospital in nearby Northampton as a precaution as the accident had triggered his car’s ‘warning light’.

While he was released the same evening, he was reported to be suffering back pain as a result of the crash, and Toyota confirmed ahead of first practice on Thursday morning that the Argentinian driver had suffered "minor damage to two vertebrae".

He will therefore not participate at Spa as he seeks to recover in time for next month’s Le Mans 24 Hours.

"I’m extremely disappointed to miss this weekend’s race as I was really looking forward to driving the TS050 Hybrid at Spa," Lopez said.

"I feel basically fine but we all agree that we should take no chances; the priority is to be absolutely fit for Le Mans.

"Probably I could race if we were at a different track but a driver’s body experiences extreme forces through Eau Rouge so, after discussions with the FIA Medical Delegate and our team doctor, we decided I should not drive this weekend."

Lopez’s teammates Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi will contest the Belgian race as a duo in the #7 Toyota.

The Japanese marque says Lopez will aim to test the car again towards the end of the month ahead of the Le Mans test day on 4 June.

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