The rain at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps only got worse at the World Endurance Championship’s 6 Hours of Spa weekend. In the heavy rain of Free Practice 1, the #1 Toyota of Kazuki Nakajima rear-ended the #8 Audi of Oliver Jarvis near Les Combes corner, fracturing one of Nakajima’s vertebrae.
According to Daily Sportscar, both the Audi and Toyota LMP1-class cars were trying to make it around an LMP2 car that was hidden in a giant cloud of spray. Per Toyota, the cars were still on the Kemmel Straight when the accident occurred.
“Looking at the video of the accident it is clear he had no chance,” Toyota Gazoo Racing President Toshio Sato in a team statement after the accident. “The visibility was very poor due to the spray and there was nothing Kazuki could do.”
Nakajima confirmed the poor conditions as well. “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,” he said in the team’s statement.
Both cars were heavily damaged from the hit, with the Audi LMP1 sustaining significant damage, and the Toyota requiring a full rebuild. Jarvis and Nakajima initially both looked fine, although Nakajima complained of back pain.
Further checks at the hospital at Verviers revealed that Nakajima has a fractured vertebra. Per Daily Sportscar, Nakajima will remain there for checks over the weekend and unfortunately, will be unable to drive in the 6 Hours of Spa. Further medical checks will determine if he is able to drive at Le Mans in 41 days or if reserve driver Kamui Kobayashi will have to fill in.
Nakajima’s teammates in the number 1 car, Sébastien Buemi and Anthony Davison, had to sit out Free Practice 2, as the #1 car will have to be rebuilt around a spare monocoque.
Davison had this to say in the team’s statement:
It was obviously a very difficult day for our side of the garage. Kazuki suffered a high-speed incident so at the moment our main concern is his well being. We are all with him and supporting him through this tough time. The car, for what it’s worth, felt good in the wet conditions today and we were able to set some pretty competitive lap times. But I hope we can have some dry weather for the race to see where we are before we head to Le Mans.
Our thoughts are with Kazuki Nakajima for a speedy recovery.
Qualifying just wrapped up today, and you can view the full results here.
Photo credit: Toyota Motorsport
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