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Rally great Ogier to remain hospitalized though 'no serious injuries' from crash in Poland

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Eight-time world rally champion Sébastien Ogier will remain hospitalized overnight after he was involved in a crash in Poland on Tuesday while preparing for this week’s race, though his team said he was not seriously injured.

The 40-year-old Ogier and co-driver Vincent Landais were withdrawn from the Poland Rally, the Toyota Gazoo racing team said in a statement. Landais was released from the hospital.

“All involved have underdone scans which showed no serious injuries,” the team said. “While Landais has been discharged, Ogier will remain under medical observation overnight and will not be able to participate in the event.”

It later said drivers Kalle Rovanpera and Jonne Halttunen will step in for Ogier and Landais for the race.

The four-day rally starts Thursday in northeastern Poland, in a rural area not far from the border with Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave.

The team said GPS tracking shows the speed of Ogier's car at the time of the head-on crash was “within the limits set.”

Earlier, a police spokesman in Olsztyn, Tomasz Markowski, said Toyota and Ford cars were involved near the northeast village of Wlosty, and four people were taken to the hospital. The drivers were airlifted and the passengers were taken by ambulances, Markowski added.

Local police spokeswoman Marta Domańska said the crash occurred on raised terrain on a narrow, one-lane dirt road which was not closed to traffic. In the Ford were a 69-year-old man and a 67-year-old woman. All complained of back pain after the crash, she said.

Ogier was taken to a hospital in Olsztyn, the other driver to Slupsk, while Landais and the other passenger were taken to Gizycko hospital. Domańska said no official rally route tests were taking place there at the time of the crash.

Photos posted by Olsztyn police showed a white Toyota and a dark Ford with their fronts damaged.

Ogier is one of the greatest rally drivers in history. He won six straight world titles from 2013-18. His most recent was in 2021.

Ogier has won 60 rallies, second all-time to countryman Sebastien Loeb's 80.

Driving part-time in the world rally championship this year, he won the Croatia Rally in April and the Portugal Rally in May. Poland is hosting its first WRC event in seven years, and Ogier has won here twice.

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AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing

Monika Scislowska, The Associated Press