Injured sports car racer Memo Gidley thanks fans for support

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Two months after his devastating crash at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, sports car driver Memo Gidley has thanked fans for their support in a letter posted on his web site.

Gidley has been recovering from the injuries he sustained in the accident, which took place during the third hour of this year’s Rolex and involved him running at speed into the back of a slowing Ferrari driven by Matteo Malucelli.

After multiple surgeries at Halifax Health in Daytona Beach, Fla., Gidley was released in February and medically transported by air back to his home in California.

The subsequent recovery process has been a grueling one, as Gidley details in his letter. A short passage…

“I was in the hospital bed for nearly 5 weeks and I lost something like 20lbs of body weight… mostly muscle. I currently get surprised often how it takes to get this… actually really any muscle back on my thin frame. I broke and fractured something like 12 bones so this makes me working at an injured level that I have never been to in my life. The physical therapy from this point is overwhelming if you try to think of all the work…”

Nonetheless, Gidley vows that he will heal and return to racing “because of the people behind me, and my determination.”

You can read the full letter from Gidley HERE.

Neuville wins Rally Australia; Ogier takes FIA WRC title

Sebastien Ogier. Photo: Getty Images
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COFFS HARBOUR, Australia (AP) Belgium’s Thierry Neuville won Rally Australia by 22.5 seconds on Sunday as torrential rain added drama to the last day of the last race of the World Rally Championship season.

Neuville entered the final day with an almost 20 second advantage after inheriting the rally lead Saturday when his Hyundai teammate, defending champion Andreas Mikkelsen crashed and was forced to retire for the day.

His lead was halved by Jari-Matti Latvala early Sunday as monsoon-like rain made conditions treacherous on muddy forest stages on the New South Wales coast. The rain stopped on the short Wedding Bells stage where Neuville was almost 5 seconds quicker than his rivals, stretching his lead to 14.7 seconds entering the last stage.

COFFS HARBOUR, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 17: Thierry Neuville of Belgium and Nicolas Gilsoul of Belgium compete in their Hyundai Motorsport WRT Hyundai i20 coupe WRC during Day One of the WRC Australia on November 17, 2017 in COFFS HARBOUR, Australia. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images)

That stage was full of incident. The driver’s door on Neuville’s Hyundai i20 coupe swung open in the middle of the stage and Neuville had to slam it closed as he approached a corner.

Latvala’s Toyota then crashed seconds from the end of the stage, allowing Estonia’s Ott Tanak, in a Ford, to take second place overall and New Zealalnd’s Haydon Paddon, in a Hyundai, to sneak into third.

Sebastian Ogier was fourth after winning the final, power stage but the Frenchman had already clinched his fifth world title before Rally Australia began. Neuville’s win was his fourth of the season, two more than Ogier, and was enough to give him second place in world drivers’ standings for the third time in five years.

Ogier owed his drivers’ title to his consistency: he retired only once and finished no worse than fifth all season.

Neuville admitted the last day was touch and go as the rain made some stages perilous, forcing the cancellation of the second to last stage.

“That was a hell of a ride,” Neuville said. “Really, really tricky conditions.

“I kept the car on the road but it was close sometimes. I knew I could make a difference but I had to be clever. You lose grip, you lose control and the car doesn’t respond to your input.”