Dario Franchitti thanks fans for support

Safety team members work to remove Dario Franchitti, of Scotland, from his car after a crash during the second IndyCar Grand Prix of Houston auto race, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Juan DeLeon)
Safety team members work to remove Dario Franchitti, of Scotland, from his car after a crash during the second IndyCar Grand Prix of Houston auto race, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Juan DeLeon)
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BATHGATE’S Dario Franchitti has thanked motor racing fans for their support following his crash at the IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Houston on Sunday.

The three-time Indy 500 winner and four-times Indy series champion was in collision with Takuma Sato on the final lap of the race in Texas and was sent crashing into the track wall, forcing his car to fly into the air.

Franchitti underwent surgery yesterday to stabilise a fracture to his right ankle, hours after being admitted awake and alert to Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center also suffering from a spinal fracture and concussion.

The Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver is to remain in Houston for several days before being moved to Indianapolis for further evaluation.

Franchitti said in a statement released by his team: “Thank you to everyone for all the well wishes.

“They mean a lot to me. I would also like to send my best to all the fans involved in the accident and hope that everyone is alright.”

IndyCar said in a statement: “Our thoughts remain with everyone affected by the accident.

“Thank you to the people of Houston for their support of the Grand Prix and their concern for Dario Franchitti, the fans and race personnel.

“IndyCar is thoroughly reviewing the incident. Reducing the risks that are associated with racing is one of our highest priorities and receives our constant and ongoing focus.”

Debris from the accident flew over the fencing, reportedly injuring several spectators and race officials.

Sato appeared to lose control of the back of his car as he rounded turn five, causing him to be in collision with Franchitti, whose car smashed into the wall at high speed.

“On the last lap I caught the marbles [tyre debris] and brushed the wall and lost momentum,” Sato told www.indycar.com.

“A couple cars passed me as I was off-line and, in turn five, I got very loose and Dario and I came together.

“Hopefully Dario is okay.”

The race was won by Team Penske driver Will Power, who told American television channel NBCSN following the race: “It just looked bad. I hate seeing that, I just hate it. I just hope he’s okay.”

Scott Dixon, who finished second, added: “Nobody ever wants to see somebody get hurt, so thoughts are with everybody that’s involved in that accident and hopefully we’ll be able see Dario here shortly.”