Finns recovering from XG injuries

Updated: July 10, 2012, 5:37 PM ET
By Jim Wilkie | ESPN.com

Global RallyCross drivers Marcus Grönholm and Toomas Heikkinen are out of hospital and working on recovery after sustaining serious injuries in separate, frightening crashes in practice runs at X Games late last month.

Grönholm was discharged from the California Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles on Saturday and was planning to rest in California over the weekend before returning home to Finland, according to a news release from Marcus Grönholm Racing. The 44-year-old Finn was knocked unconscious when his car hit an exposed light post base after clearing the jump on June 30.

"I was extremely frustrated to not be able to contest the X Games, more so because I believed my preparations were excellent," Grönholm said after his discharge, according to the news release. "As Sébastien [Loeb, the eventual X Games RallyCross gold medalist] had come to race, I was extra hungry to perform -- of course -- and I went into the event with a really positive feeling, so yes, it was very annoying that it ended the way it did, but perhaps Sébastien will consider a rematch some day!"

[+] EnlargeMarcus Grönholm
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty ImagesWe don't know when Marcus Grönholm will race again, but he's already floated the idea of a rematch with X Games champ Sébastien Loeb.

Heikkinen, who broke his left ankle and suffered abdominal injuries June 29 when his car crashed into the face of the landing ramp on the gap jump, was released from hospital July 3 and has gone home to Joensuu, Finland. In a web video he acknowledged he wasn't going fast enough to clear the gap, which was filled in for subsequent practices and races. In a news release on his website, the 21-year-old driver revealed another injury caused by the five-point seat belt system.

"I'm already in Joensuu getting on with the rehabilitation. My ankle is in a shoe cast and I have some stomach pains. My urethra also got a bit damaged. The seat belt between my legs got so tight that it caused some damage," Heikkinen said in a release on Toomasheikkinen.com.

Neither driver is in condition to race this weekend at the GRC's round 4 stop at New Hampshire, but the season finale Sept. 29 in Las Vegas hasn't been ruled out.

"I will obviously miss the New Hampshire event in July. My aim is to drive in Las Vegas," said Heikkinen, whose recovery is expected to be two to three months, said in a release. "The team will build a new car, so it's all ready to go. This didn't make [me] afraid of driving and even the short jump hasn't been in my thoughts. Things like this just happen."

Grönholm didn't address the possibility of racing in Las Vegas, however.

"Of course discussion of the next race has been going on for sure, but it's one step at a time for the moment. The first step is to get home and get fully fit, then I'll go from there," Grönholm said in the release.

Grönholm had victories in the first two rounds and led the GRC's overall standings before X Games, but Tanner Foust is now in first after three rounds.

"I must say a heartfelt thanks to all the messages of support and goodwill that have in such numbers been truly unexpected, from close friends and family of course, but also from fans around the world. This kind of support has been amazing and has inspired my recovery, so I must extend to everyone my sincere thanks and gratitude," Grönholm said in the release.

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