Super Formula drivers Ukyo Sasahara and Hiroki Otsu survived a horror crash that sent Sasaraha’s car through the barriers at Suzuka’s fastest corner. The TOM’s driver was diagnosed with concussion after being taken to hospital, while Otsu remarkably walked away with only minor bruising.
Sasahara and Otsu went side by side as they turned into the 130R corner, known for being a speedy part of the Suzuka circuit. They then make contact that elevates Otsu’s car into the air and onto the gravel.
Meanwhile, Sasaraha’s vehicle was launched sideways and sped towards the barriers. In a terrifying scene, the engine and gearbox of the car is seen to separate.
The main body of the car fell all the way through to the inside wall of the Degner Curve, near the start line. Sasaraha, 27, was kept in hospital overnight and will not take part in Sunday’s main race.
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Having been diagnosed with concussion, Otsu will also be forced to sit out. The Nakajima driver was replacing Naoki Yamamoto.
The crash, which took place in the fourth lap, prompted the race to be halted immediately. Half points were awarded with the race only counting up to the third lap. Damage to the fencing has since taken place and the season’s finale will proceed as scheduled on Sunday.
Sasahara was handed a 30-second penalty for his role in the crash. He finished in last place, while Otsu was handed a 17th-place finish.
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Otsu reflected: “In the early laps I passed several cars and it felt like I had the pace to go even further if I continued that way. But while I was using the Overtake System I went side-by-side with another car], we made contact and crashed.
“As a replacement driver, my main priority was to return [Naoki] Yamamoto’s car in good condition, so I’m sorry for the team about the damage to the car. Even though we didn’t do many laps I hope they were able to take something positive from it.”
The race also marked Liam Lawson’s return from replacing Daniel Ricciardo at Formula One outfit AlphaTauri. The Red Bull rising star lost ground in his race to win the Super Formula title after finishing in P6. New Zealander Lawson is 15 points behind championship leader Ritomo Miyata.
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