Mike Stevens | Nov 23, 2008

Red Bull Racing driver Mark Webber yesterday suffered fractures to the tibia and fibula bones in his right leg after colliding with a Nissan X-Trail coming from the opposite direction.

The Aussie F1 steerer was competing in the annual charity cycling event The Mark Webber Pure Tasmania Challenge when the accident occurred, and spent last night in the Royal Hobart Hospital after being flown by helicopter from an area near Port Arthur.

Webber went into surgery last night to re-set the broken bones, with a rod inserted to assist the healing process. One of Webber’s managers, Geoff Donahue, said that he spoke with Webber before he went into surgery, and was remarkably upbeat when asked if he would recover in time for the 2009 F1 series.

"I am exceptionally confident he will be ready.

"He's an elite athlete and, as soon as he's out of surgery and can travel, he'll get the best of rehabilitation.

Though Webber is expected to spend the next two or three days surrounded by devoted nurses, Donahue says he has been in high spirits and is looking forward to getting into rehabilitation as soon as possible.

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"He's in surprisingly good spirits. He's keen to get back into his running, mountain-biking and kayaking as soon as possible, and getting back into doing the job for Red Bull again.''

"We have no concerns about him racing next season,'' Mr Donohue said.

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The Mark Webber Pure Tasmania Challenge was setup by Webber in 2003, and has been held in varying formats. Starting out as a 1000km challenge in 2003, the event has become a little less grueling (relatively speaking) over time, with the 2008 event involving ‘only’ 250km of cycling, kayaking, and trekking across the southernmost Australian state over six days. Webber had been competing in the second-last day of the challenge when the accident occurred.

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