24 Hours of Le Mans: Historic first victory for Toyota
Toyota finally wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans! After many disappointments in previous editions of the world’s biggest race, especially a last-lap power loss in 2016, the Japanese manufacturer clinched its historic first victory at Circuit de la Sarthe.
Kazuki Nakajima, the driver who was so close to the victory two years ago, receives a redemption by crossing the finish line as the winner today in the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid. His co-drivers in the victorious car were Sebastien Buemi and Fernando Alonso. They completed 388 laps at 13.626 km long circuit in the 86th edition of the 24-hour race.
The victory of Toyota was expected because the rivals in the LMP1 class are not on the same level as Japanese hybrid prototype. The question was only if both Toyota cars would reach the finish line. After minor problems with fuel, the #7 Toyota of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez finished in the second place, two laps behind winners.
Two Rebellion Racing’s R13-Gibson LMP1 prototypes had an internal battle for the third place on the podium. The #3 car finished in the third place, driven by Gustavo Menezes, Mathias Beche and Thomas Laurent. For the 20-year-old Frenchman Laurent, it’s his second overall podium in his only second attempt at Le Mans after he finished in the second place last year with DC Racing. The #1 Rebellion R13 finished in the fourth place, driven by Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer and Bruno Senna.
Behind their back, the #26 G-Drive Racing Oreca took the victory in the LMP2 class. The #26 car was driven by Jean-Eric Vergne, Roman Rusinov and Andrea Pizzitola. The LMP2 podium was completed by Signatech Alpine #36 and Graff-SO24 #39 crews. The drivers of the #37 Alpine A470 were Nicolas Lapierre, Andre Negrao and Pierre Thiriet. The drivers of the #39 Oreca were Tristan Gommendy, Vincent Capillaire and Jonathan Hirschi.
Victories for Porsche in both GTE classes
The GTE Pro class victory went to the Pink Pig, the factory-entered #92 Porsche 911 RSR of Michel Christensen, Kevin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor. They defeated teammates in the #91 Porsche by 48 seconds. The drivers of the #91 car were Gianmaria Bruni, Richard Lietz and Frederic Makowiecki.
The fantastic battle in GTE Pro class ended with #68 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s crew in the third place. the drivers of the #68 Ford GT were Sebastien Bourdais, Joey Hand and Dirk Müller.
Spirit of Race’s #54 Ferrari 488 GTE came second in GTE Am class, driven by Giancarlo Fisichella, Francesco Castellacci and Thomas Flohr. The last place on the GTE Am podium went to Jeroen Bleekemolen, Ben Keating and Luca Stolz in the #85 Keating Motorsports Ferrari 488 GTE.