INDIANAPOLIS — French driver Sebastien Bourdais will have surgery Saturday night to repair a fractured pelvis suffered in a fiery crash during Indianapolis 500 qualifying.
In a day marred by a frightening crash, two-time pole winner Ed Carpenter had the fastest car in Indianapolis 500 qualifying Saturday with a four-lap average of 230.468 mph.
Track officials said doctors at Indiana University Methodist Hospital reported Bourdais has multiple fractures in his pelvis and a fractured right hip.
Team owner Dale Coyne said in a statement that Bourdais is “in good hands” at the hospital and that the team must wait for him to recover.
He was injured when the No. 18 car wiggled in the second turn, slid up the track and slammed head-on into the second turn wall. The car then flipped over, with flames and smoke billowing out, before skidding to a stop upright in the back straightaway.
Safety team members spent about 10 minutes getting Bourdais out of the car before putting him on a backboard. Track officials said he was awake and alert when he was transported by ambulance to the hospital. They said he never lost consciousness.
Bourdais had just completed two laps at over 231 mph — the fastest laps of the day — when the car started to spin.
He won the season-opening race at St. Petersburg, Florida, and he had the fastest time in Friday’s practice.
Bourdais won four straight Champ Car season titles from 2004 to 2007 and raced in Formula One in 2008 and 2009. He is sixth on IndyCar’s career victory list with 35.
Coyne will likely have to find a replacement driver for the May 28 Indy 500 race but might not have to make the decision before the second round of qualifying is held.
Because only 33 cars are entered for the 500, any that do not qualify will be sent to the back of the field and will be arranged based on entrant’s points.
One other driver, Zach Veach, also did not qualify on Saturday. Veach crashed in practice earlier this week.