Nika International’s Rickard Rydell will miss this weekend’s World Touring Car Championship meeting in Morocco, with the Swede suffering from a high fever in the build-up to the event.
Ahead of just his second race meeting since his return to the WTCC, Honda driver Rydell fell ill during preparation for the event in the North African country, with what is believed to be a virus. As a result, he has been advised to sit out the event.
“I am tremendously disappointed to be forced out of this weekend’s races in Marrakech,” said Rydell. “I’ve had a persisting fever for the last few days, but it was always manageable and I firmly intended to drive in Morocco. Unfortunately, however, things took a turn for the worse today and the fever increased.
“It’s very frustrating, but driving the car in this condition would have been highly dangerous and simply isn’t an option. I would like to thank the team for their support in all of this – they’ve really been fantastic. Now, I will liaise with my doctors in order to recover as quickly as possible, and I already look forward to getting back in the car again in Budapest in two weeks’ time.”
Nika Team Principal Nicklas Karlsson explained that the team waited until the last possible moment before ceding that Rydell was unfit to race.
“We are obviously sad and disappointed not to make the grid in Marrakech this weekend, but health always comes first and the most important thing right now is Rickard’s recovery,” said Karlsson. “We have waited to the last minute before making this call, hoping for an improvement, but ultimately the fever got worse and there is no way Rickard can drive the car in his current discomfort.
“Taking this decision is all the more painful on this particular weekend, when we’ve got a big group of partners on site in the paddock, but our VIP programme will still run according to its original plan and I am certain that all of our guests will fully understand this unfortunate situation.”
Rydell is receiving medical examinations and is being treated with antibiotics and fever-reducing paracetamol.
It is understood that Rydell will not be replaced at the wheel of the team’s sole Honda Civic, however team personnel will stay on in North Africa over the race weekend.