Liam Lawson’s Super Formula return marred by violent 130R crash for rivals

Michelle Foster
AlphaTauri's Liam Lawson pictured during the Japanese Grand Prix weekend.

AlphaTauri's Liam Lawson pictured during the Japanese Grand Prix weekend.

Liam Lawson’s return to Super Formula ended after just five laps when Hiroki Otsu and Ukyo Sasahara suffered a violent crash at at 130R that saw the race red flagged.

Racing for position at the Suzuka circuit, Sasahara tried to pass Otsu around the outside but didn’t leave the Nakajima driver enough room.

The two collided with Sasahara’s TOM’S sent hurtling into the catch fencing in a high-speed accident with the impact tearing off the rear of his car.

Ukyo Sasahara reportedly unhurt in huge crash

While the rear got stuck in the 130R barriers, according to Motorsport.com momentum carried the chassis down towards Degner 1.

Amazingly, and thankfully, Sasahara was reportedly unhurt in the crash although he was taken to the track’s medical centre for checks.

Otsu walked away from his car, which had ended up in the 130R’s barriers but without the force of Sasahara’s hit.

The race was red flagged before being declared as the marshals faced a lengthy battle repairing the catch fencing.

Tomoki Nojiri was declared the winner of the penultimate race of the season ahead of Ritomo Miyata and Kakunoshin Ota with the result taken at the end of lap 3.

On a day where half points were awarded, AlphaTauri reserve driver Lawson finished in sixth place having lined up P7 on the grid. He was fifth when the red flag was thrown but lost a position in the count-back.

Lawson is third in the championship on 88.5 points, 15 behind championship leader Miyata.

Sunday marks Lawson’s final race in Super Formula with the Kiwi signed as Red Bull and AlphaTauri’s reserve driver for the 2024 F1 championship.

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