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MARCH 3, 2001

Villeneuve unscathed after spectacular crash

JACQUES VILLENEUVE emerged unscathed after a high-speed crash in the opening laps of the Australian Grand Prix.

Canadian Villeneuve crashed into the back of the BMW-Williams of Ralf Schumacher, launched into the air and spun 180 degrees into a wall at turn three on lap five of the race.

"I'm okay," Villeneuve said. "Ralf was in the middle of the track and I didn't know which way to overtake him - on the inside or outside. My back feels a bit tight it felt like a big one."

BMW-Williams driver Ralf Schumacher refused to criticise Jacques Villeneuve after the duo's spectacular crash in the Australian Grand Prix.

The race was run under the safety car for 10 laps as debris was cleared from the track and German Schumacher believed that a race marshal had been injured in the incident.

"At the end of the day, Jacques Villeneuve came up behind me and then I saw him fly away," Schumacher said. "I spun in the gravel but there were no problems for me.

"I just got out and went to help Jacques. I think a marshal was hurt in the incident."