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How Kovalainen’s F1 "scars" were healed by racing in Japan

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After exiting the Formula 1 paddock underappreciated and then narrowly missing out on a next logical step to the DTM, Heikki Kovalainen became an unlikely Super GT refugee. But the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix winner went big in Japan, winning the title in 2016 and finding peace with his racing career

When the 2022 Super GT season gets underway at Okayama in April, the Japanese championship will be without its most recognisable international star of the last two seasons following Heikki Kovalainen’s decision to quit the series late last year.

The ex-Renault, McLaren, Lotus and Caterham Formula 1 man’s decision brought down the curtain on a stint in Japan spanning seven full seasons, one more than he spent as a full-time grand prix driver, all of which came as part of the SARD Toyota team. Alongside Kohei Hirate, he won the 2016 title and scored a total of five victories in his 54 starts in the series.

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