Chiyo suffers spinal injury in Fuji crash

Driver Katsumasa Chiyo was extremely fortunate to walk away from a high-speed crash at the first corner at Fuji Speedway last week, but according to his most recent blog entry, further tests revealed a minor spinal injury that will take three to four weeks to fully recover.

Chiyo has been withdrawn from this weekend’s All-Japan Formula Three race meeting at Twin Ring Motegi, and his participation in the 45th International Suzuka 1000km on August 28 is not 100 percent certain.

During the Fuji GT 300km Race, Chiyo had just taken over the #46 S Road Craftsports MOLA GT-R from co-driver Satoshi Motoyama, and was giving chase to race leader Hironobu Yasuda in the #12 Calsonic Impul GT-R.

A brake failure at speeds as high as 289 kilometers per hour, per the onboard data from TV Tokyo’s Super GT+ digest show, caused Chiyo to lose control and spin off track, impacting the tyre barriers at the end of the runoff at a near head-on angle.

Chiyo walked away from the crash, but was held overnight at a local hospital for further tests. Today it has been revealed that he sustained a minor injury in his back that will take 3-4 weeks to fully heal.

For that reason, Chiyo will not race for B-Max Racing Team at the next F3 round in Motegi, and will be replaced by fellow Nissan factory driver Mitsunori Takaboshi. Chiyo had won the most recent F3 race at Fuji Speedway, and sits fourth in the Drivers’ Championship.

He will undergo further tests before the weekend of the Suzuka 1000km to determine whether he will be fit enough to race the S Road GT-R alongside Motoyama and Takaboshi – the latter who was named as a third driver to the team as a precautionary measure in the event Chiyo was not fit to race.

Chiyo, Andre Couto, and Ryuichiro Tomita made up last year’s GT300 class winning team at the 1000km, driving the Gainer Nissan GT-R.

He signs off by saying that “Even if there is only a 1 percent chance, I’m going to do the maximum that I can and never give up!”

Our thoughts, obviously, are with Chiyo, in the hope for a swift recovery.

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