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Super Formula Suzuka II

Sasahara's doctors amazed he was unharmed after Super Formula 130R crash

Ukyo Sasahara says that even his doctors were stunned that he emerged from his huge 130R crash in last month's Super Formula finale at Suzuka without any serious injuries.

Ukyo Sasahara, #36 VANTELIN TEAM TOM’S

TOM'S driver Sasahara was involved in a terrifying incident in the first of two races at the Japanese Grand Prix venue, as his car was launched up and over the catch fencing after contact with the Nakajima Racing machine of Hiroki Otsu.

Sasahara's car finally came to rest just before the first Degner Curve, having plunged all the way down the steep hill that lies beside the famous Suzuka underpass.

While the 27-year-old was forced to miss the following day's final race due to concussion, he was later cleared of any serious injuries and was able to participate in last weekend's Super GT finale at Motegi.

Following that race, Sasahara shared his memories of the crash and its aftermath, describing the fact that he escaped serious harm as a "miracle" that left even his doctors stunned.

"I remember everything about the incident," he told Motorsport.com's Japanese edition. "I never imagined the car would fly that far. 

"I think the officials didn’t realise where I was initially. But once they realised, the officials and doctors did a great job to get me out so quickly, and luckily I wasn’t injured so I could participate in this weekend’s Super GT race.

"I was diagnosed with a mild concussion, because when you have a crash that big it’s inevitable you will hit your head against the headrest.

"The tough thing was that because I was upside down, the blood rushed to my head and I couldn’t get out of the car by myself. But honestly after that, it was almost like nothing had happened.

Sasahara was all smiles at Motegi just days on from his crash

Photo by: Masahide Kamio

Sasahara was all smiles at Motegi just days on from his crash

"Even the people at the hospital were astonished. They saw the footage of the crash and the pictures as well, and they were like, ‘how is this guy still so energetic?’

"That was definitely thanks to the safety of the Super Formula car itself, and besides that, where exactly I hit the barriers, the way the car broke apart and dispersed the energy of the impact… these kind of things just happened like a miracle."

Sasahara and his team-mate in the #37 TOM'S Toyota GR Supra, Giuliano Alesi, rounded off their season by finishing ninth, leaving them 14th in the final GT500 standings.

That came against the backdrop of the sister #36 TOM'S machine of Sho Tsuboi and Ritomo Miyata taking a dominant championship win, which followed Sasahara's Super Formula team-mate Miyata sealing the crown in the single-seater series at Suzuka.

"It's been a tough year," said Sasahara. "I honestly didn't think it was going to be so hard, and now I just feel exhausted.

"As a member of the team, I'm happy that the car next to me won the title in both categories, but personally it's frustrating. In Super Formula I couldn't race the whole season, but in Super GT we had a lot of severe issues and the team struggled.

"But everyone around me in the team was understanding, and I didn't lose confidence as a driver, and we made some progress by desperately trying a lot of different things. It's good I was able to gain experience in that area.

"If we can solve our issues, I'm sure that we can be as fast as the #36 car, so I am not too worried about it."

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