Ukyo Sasahara shares memories of the 130R crash

Ukyo Sasahara shares memories of the 130R crash

TOM’S driver Sasahara was involved in a horrific crash in the first of two races at the Japanese Grand Prix venue, with his car launched over the catch fence after coming into contact with Hiroki Otsu’s Nakajima Racing machine.

Sasahara’s car finally came to a stop before the first Degner Curve, after falling all the way down the steep hill next to the famous Suzuka Tunnel.

While the 27-year-old was forced to miss the final race the following day due to concussion, he was later cleared of any serious injuries and was able to take part in last weekend’s SUPER GT Finals at Motegi.

After that race, Sasahara shared his memories of the accident and its aftermath, describing the fact that he escaped serious damage as a “miracle” that left even his doctors stunned.

“I remember everything about the accident,” he told the Japanese version of “I never imagined the car would fly this far.

“I think the officials didn’t realize where I was at first. But once they did realize, the officials and doctors did a great job to get me out so quickly, and fortunately I wasn’t hurt so I could race in the SUPER GT this weekend.

“I was diagnosed with a mild concussion, because when you’re in an accident of that magnitude you’re bound to hit your head against the headrest. The difficult thing was I was upside down, the blood rushed to my head and I couldn’t get it up.” Get out of the car myself

“But honestly after that, it was almost like nothing had happened. Even the people at the hospital were amazed. They had seen the footage of the incident and the photos as well, and they were wondering: How is this guy still so active?” ‘

“It was definitely thanks to the safety of the Super Formula car itself, and besides, exactly where it hit the barriers, the way the car crashed and the energy of the collision was dispersed… that kind of thing happened like a miracle.”

Sasahara was smiling at Motegi a few days after his crash

Sasahara was smiling at Motegi a few days after his crash

Sasahara and his teammate in the No. 37 TOM’S Toyota GR Supra, Giuliano Alesi, concluded their season with a ninth-place finish, leaving them 14th in the final GT500 standings.

This came on the back of Tom’s sister machine, the No. 36 car of Sho Tsuboi and Ritomo Miyata, winning the championship, after Sasahara’s Super Formula Miyata teammate claimed the title in the single-seater series at Suzuka.

“It’s been a tough year,” Sasahara said. “Honestly, I didn’t think it would be this difficult, and now I feel exhausted.

“As a team member, I’m happy that the car next to me won the title in both categories, but personally it’s frustrating. In Super Formula I wasn’t able to race all season, but in Super GT we had a lot of serious issues and the team struggled.

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

“If we can solve our problems, I’m sure we can be as fast as the No. 36 car, so I’m not worried about that,” he added.

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