Fenestraz "surprised" by Yamamoto move after huge crash

Sacha Fenestraz says he's "really surprised" about the contact with Naoki Yamamoto that led to his huge crash in Sunday's Fuji Super Formula race, given Yamamoto's considerable experience.

Kondo Racing driver Fenestraz was involved in a massive impact with the barriers at Turn 2 on the third lap of the 40-lap race while he was embroiled in a battle for seventh place with the Nakajima Racing car of Yamamoto.

Yamamoto had tried to go around the outside of Fenestraz into Turn 1, and appeared to have the momemtum for the run down to the Turn 3 left-hander, trying to find space on the left-side of the track.

Fenestraz moved across to cover off Yamamoto, who then tried to move right but made contact with the Kondo machine, which was then sent hurtling into the wall at barely abated speed.

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Yamamoto was awarded a drive-through penalty for the incident but was still able to continue and finish ninth.

"Everything happened really quick with Yamamoto," Fenestraz told Motorsport.com. "I couldn’t do much.

"I was defending into Turn 1 from Yamamoto, he tried to go around the outside and was on the inside for 'A corner' [Turn 3] and I closed the door, but not by much. And the next thing I know, I was in the wall.

"He actually went from left to right, and he misjudged the gap, which is when we touched, and he was on the OTS [overtake system].

"I’m quite surprised. He’s one of the oldest drivers, the most experienced driver in the field, and he’s been champion three times, so I’m really surprised he made this misjudgement. You don’t expect it from this kind of driver. It’s really weird.

"I was also a bit surprised that he just had a drive-through penalty because it was a massive mistake, but anyway, I was already out of the race."


Yamamoto was unavailable for comment post-race, but did apologise to Fenestraz in Nakajima Racing's post-race press release.

"I want to say sorry to Fenestraz and his fans, and also for those supporting me, I'm sorry the race didn't turn out the way we hoped," he said.

Fenestraz was taken to hospital for precautionary checks after the crash, but was cleared of any significant injuries.

"Fortunately I was ok, besides some pain in my lower back and my coccyx," the 22-year-old said. "I was really shocked when I saw the replay. I’ve never had this kind of experience at this level, but it is what it is.

"It was a pretty big impact but thanks to the safety of the cars and barriers I was uninjured, which is good."

With championship leader Tomoki Nojiri finishing third, it means Fenestraz now trails by 36 points with four races to go.



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