WEC: Heavy rain creates havoc in 6 Hours of Spa practice for Toyota’s Nakajima
Thurs 30th Apr – The preparations for this weekend’s WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps continued this afternoon during the second 90-minute Free Practice session of the day. Heavy rain caused the teams to tread carefully around the 7km Spa track and consequently the laps were lower than this morning’s wet session.
Porsche once again led the way; this time it was the no19 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Earl Bamber that set the fastest time with a 2m25.495, 8.8 seconds slower than this morning’s best time of 2m16.616 set by Marc Lieb in the no18 Porsche.
The no42 Strakka Racing Dome S103 was the quickest of the LMP2 competitors once again. In Free Practice 2 it was Danny Watts with a 2m34.370 lap, 1.698s behind Jonny Kanes lap in the Strakka Dome in FP1. As in the morning session it was the no38 JOTA Sport Gibson Nissan that set the second quickest time, this time with Mitch Evans at the wheel in a time of 2m34.847.
In LMGTE Pro it was Porsche Team Manthey once again at the head of the time sheets, with Richard Lietz in the no92 911 setting a 2m37.058 lap, 0.993 slower than the FP1 best time set by Kevin Estre in the no91 Porsche 911 RSR.
In LMGTE Am Rui Aguas put Ferrari at the top of the timing sheet with a 2m41.645 lap in the no83 AF Corse run 458 Italia.
Following the accident earlier yesterday in Free Practice 1 involving the no8 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Oliver Jarvis and the no1 Toyota Racing Toyota TS040 HYBRID of Kazuki Nakajima, after which Nakajima was taken to the medical centre and then to hospital in Verviers for checks, the FIA Medical Delegate, Dr Jacques Tropenat, gave the following statement.
“Following the accident which occurred this morning during Free Practice 1 for the WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, Toyota Racing’s driver Kazuki Nakajima complained of back ache and was taken to hospital in Verviers for further examination. His neurological examinations were normal. He will stay in hospital overnight for observation.”
Toyota Racing also sent out a press release regarding the incident involving Nakajima
The impact damaged the monocoque but more significantly caused injury to Kazuki. After complaining of back pain immediately after the incident, he was assessed at the circuit medical centre then transferred to hospital in Verviers for precautionary checks. Unfortunately those checks have revealed a fractured vertebra.
Kazuki will remain in hospital for treatment, supported by team personnel, and will not participate this weekend. Further medical analysis in the coming days will determine if there are consequences beyond this weekend’s event.
Kazuki Nakajima:“First of all I want to say thanks to the race director Eduardo Freitas and his safety crew at the circuit as well as the doctors at the hospital here in Verviers who have taken great care of me. Everyone has been extremely professional and I know I am in safe hands. Unfortunately the x-ray shows a fracture in one of my vertebra. It’s unbelievably disappointing but there’s nothing I can do now; I will just focus on coming back as soon as possible. There’s not much I can say about the accident. I was on the straight and suddenly through the spray there was a car right in front of me; I had no time to react.”