FIA WEC: Toyota and Porsche secure championship titles at snowy Spa
Toyota Gazoo Racing wins the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the seventh and penultimate round of the 2018-2019 FIA World Endurance Championship.
It’s the sixth win for the Japanese factory team which victory secures the championship title for Toyota, the first since 2014, but also Drivers’ title for the winning trio in the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid – Fernando Alonso, Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi. They won for the fourth time this season,
The race at Spa was in jeopardy because snow covered the circuit during the night. However, the track was clean but wet so the race started as planned. In the end, with eleven more minutes on a clock, the race was stopped and red-flagged when new snow whitened the iconic Belgian circuit.
When race was stopped, Toyota’s trio was in a comfortable lead ahead of Rebellion Racing’s #3 R13 and SMP Racing’s #11 BR1. The drivers of the #3 car were Thomas Laurent, Gustavo Menezes and Nathanael Berthon. SMP Racing’s representatives on the podium were Mikhail Aleshin, Vitaly Petrov and Stoffel Vandoorne.
The #7 Toyota finished the race in the sixth place, one lap behind winners. The #7 crew started from pole and held the lead until the fourth hour of the race when some technical problems cause an eleven-minute loss in the pits.
In the GTE Pro class, the #97 Aston Martin Vantage and #51 Ferrari 488 was fighting for the victory when the red flag has been shown. That gave the victory to Aston Martin Racing’s Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin, their first in the championship, ahead of AF Corse’s James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi.
Two Porsche GT Team’s crews finished the race in the third and fourth places respectively. Richard Lietz and Gianmaria Bruni were third, Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre were fourth. Such a result secure the FIA WEC GTE Manufacturers title for Porsche.
Victory in the GTE Am category went to Riccardo Pera, Christian Ried and Matt Campbell in the #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche. It’s the third consecutive win for the #77 crew and the fifth win in seven races.