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Irvine misses Austrian GP with abdominal pains

EDDIE IRVINE pulled out of the Austrian Grand Prix on Friday evening after suffering serious abdominal pains during the days leading up to the event. Although initial suggestions were that the Ulsterman might be suffering from appendicitis, extensive medical examinations at the London Independent Hospital did not confirm this and Irvine was released from hospital, pending further tests this week.

Irvine was replaced in Austria by the team's test driver Luciano Burti who had very little chance to prepare himself for his F1 debut. It was the first time he had run the Jaguar in qualifying trim and his preparations were upset by gearbox problems which meant that he ended up 21st on the grid, between the two Minardis.

Irvine hopes to be back in action at the German GP in two weeks but the fact that there has been no simple explanation of the pain is worrying.

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