Dario Franchitti leaves Houston hospital

AFP| Updated: Oct 11, 2013, 08:49 AM IST

Houston: Four-time IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti was released from a Houston hospital on Thursday but faces further surgery after suffering multiple injuries in a frightening crash on Sunday.

Scotland`s Franchitti broke two vertebrae in his spine, suffered a concussion, two broken ribs and a broken right ankle in the flying wreck in the second race of IndyCar`s Grand Prix of Houston double-header.

A statement from IndyCar said the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner would be transported to Indianapolis, where his medical condition would be re-evaluated. He will need a second operation on his surgically stabilized right ankle.

In the meantime, Franchitti said he`d be watching his Chip Ganassi team-mates Scott Dixon of New Zealand and Alex Tagliani of Canada with interest.

"I`m overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and I`m thankful to have such a great family and such wonderful friends and fans," Franchitti said.

"Thanks to everyone at the hospital and the track who took such good care of me during my stay in Houston. I look forward to watching Scott, Alex and the Target team next weekend on television, and will be pulling for them as they go for another championship."

An IndyCar official and 13 spectators were also hurt by flying debris from the three-vehicle smash in which Franchitti was hurt.

His car went flying after colliding with that of Takuma Sato and slammed into the safety fencing before coming to a halt in the middle of the street circuit track.

Venezuelan E.J. Viso`s car was also caught up in the crash, but both he and Sato were able to walk away.