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Super Formula Suzuka II

Sasahara to miss Super Formula finale with concussion after Suzuka 130R crash

Ukyo Sasahara will sit out the final round of the Super Formula season after being diagnosed with concussion following his huge crash in Saturday’s Suzuka race.

TOM’S driver Sasahara was taken to hospital following the crash that occurred on the fourth lap of the race at 130R, following contact with the Nakajima Racing car of Hiroki Otsu.

The incident led to the race being red-flagged, and damage to the catch fencing at 130R meant the decision was taken not to restart the race, with half points awarded.

Images taken trackside after the incident showed that Sasahara’s chassis had cleared the catch fencing and landed near the start of the Degner Curves, dropping down from the upper part of Suzuka’s famous crossover to the lower section.

JRP president Yoshihisa Ueno revealed to media that Sasahara was diagnosed with concussion and won’t be able to participate in Sunday’s finale. 

It’s understood that Sasahara will be held in hospital overnight as a precaution, but could leave as soon as Sunday, with further checks to be made in Tokyo before a decision is made on his participation in next week’s Super GT season finale at Motegi.

 

Ueno also revealed that repair work on the catch fencing was due to be completed at 8pm local time, and that Sunday’s finale will therefore proceed as scheduled.

Nakajima replacement driver Otsu, who walked away from the crash with only minor bruising, will also be forced to sit out the final race of the season, owing to the fact that there is insufficient time for his car to be repaired.

The incident took place as Otsu attempted to pass Sasahara on the inside at 130R in their battle for 17th place, having recovered from 21st on the grid.

With the race results being rolled back to the end of lap three, Otsu was credited with a 17th place finish, while Sasahara was handed a 30-second penalty for his role in triggering the crash and dropped to 22nd and last.

Reflecting on the incident, Otsu commented: “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 [Sasahara], 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 withdrawal of both Sasahara and Otsu means the finale on Sunday will be contested by only 20 cars.

After finishing second to Tomoki Nojiri, championship leader Ritomo Miyata takes a reduced 6.5-point advantage into the decider, with Liam Lawson now 15 points behind after finishing sixth.

Motorsport.tv is showing all Super Formula qualifying sessions and races live in 2023. Click here for further information and to sign up today.

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