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Ralf not in fray

Monza, Sept. 13 (Reuters): Ralf Schumacher’s Formula One title hopes disappeared on Saturday when the German was ruled out of Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix on medical grounds following a heavy crash last week.

Williams, eight points ahead of champions Ferrari at the top of the constructors’ standings, said Spanish test driver Marc Gene will race instead after the stewards agreed to the substitution. “Of course, it’s the end of Ralf’s title hopes but for the team it should be okay,” said BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen.

The German was fourth overall, 14 points behind his pacesetting older brother and five-times champion Michael in a Ferrari. There are just two races remaining after Monza.

“Ralf reported a headache earlier this morning and went to see (FIA medical delegate) Sid Watkins to explain it to him, and said he was not sure he can drive,” said Theissen.

Pole for Michael

Michael Schumacher roared back to form with a vengeance on Saturday to seize pole position for the Italian Grand Prix and set up a front row duel with title rival Montoya.

It was the five-time world champion’s first pole position since the Austrian Grand Prix in May, a race he won, and the 55th of his career.

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