Sunday, July 14, 2024


Super Formula drivers have reacted strongly to “dangerous” conditions at Sugo

Watch: Round 3: Sugo Highlights

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Super Formula drivers have reacted strongly to the choice to carry last weekend's Sugo race in persistent rain and poor visibility, with several describing the situation as “dangerous”.

On Sunday, terrible conditions meant that the third round of the season began behind the protection automobile, and two attempts to restart the race ended with Kazuya Oshima and Sena Sakaguchi crashing on the last corner.

Sakaguchi's impact caused damage to the barrier, which led to the race being stopped because of insufficient time to repair it inside the 75-minute limit.

Naoki Yamamoto also crashed in the identical area of ​​the track during warm-up, and his crash also required guardrail repairs and caused an hour's delay to the schedule.

There was a consensus amongst drivers that the conditions didn’t allow racing, with some arguing that the race shouldn’t have been entered in any respect.

TGM Grand Prix's Nobuharu Matsushita told “I didn't see anything in any respect.

“Juju [Noda] she was ahead of me but I couldn't even see her, so I took off like crazy into Turn 1 to be sure I could stop in case something happened in front of me.

“We shouldn't have raced. The grip of the Yokohama rear tire is really poor compared to previous wet races and it was really dangerous.”



Photo: Masahide Kamio

Kakunoshin Ota, who was one other driver who crashed out of the race on the last corner, although he avoided the barriers, had the same opinion.

The Dandelion Racing driver told “The conditions weren’t suitable for racing. I feel just about all of us have told our teams about this [on the radio] that we are able to't race. The organizers must have listened to the drivers.

“There usually are not enough runs on this track. Here you may crash somewhere on the straight or the last corner, hit the barrier and get back on the track.

“We are all skilled drivers here and even when driving at 300 km/h we feel secure because we are able to trust one another. But it was rattling dangerous.

Tomoki Nojiri was announced because the winner of the Sugo race and described conditions as “almost fine” to give you the chance to race and have a bonus on the front of the sector.

However, the Team Mugen driver added that he was experiencing disruptions within the schedule and an eventual abandonment of the race was “inevitable”, saying that drivers had noted that the dearth of tire barriers at the ultimate corner could possibly be a difficulty.

The two-time champion expressed regret that viewers were denied the possibility to see the total race and urged Super Formula to take steps to avoid a repeat in the long run.

“I firmly believe this situation could have been avoided,” Nojiri said. “There were many places where an accident could have happened, there have been no tire barriers and it at all times takes a protracted time to repair the barriers.

“On Friday while walking the track we said things like 'we want a tire barrier here' and 'If the automobile hits the barrier it should take a protracted time to repair' but by then it was too late so I feel just like the preparations weren't ok .

“Personally, I want to see improvement and I really hope that we can organize a race at Fuji that allows spectators to go home with a sense of satisfaction.”

Additional reporting by Kenichiro Ebia

Activation of the safety car

Activation of the protection automobile

Photo: Masahide Kamio

Watch: Round 3: Sugo Highlights

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