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Buemi, Nakajima and Alonso Win 24 Hours of Le Mans for Toyota

Written by  Jun 17, 2018

The 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans finished with Toyota finally lifting the most coveted trophy in endurance racing after Kazuki Nakajima took the chequered flag in the no8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid two laps ahead of the no7 Toyota with Kamui Kobayashi at the wheel.

It looked like the race between the two Toyotas was going to be closer but two ten second stop and go penalties, the first for exceeding the maximum number of laps per stint and the second for exceeding the fuel / quantity limit.  The no7 Toyota also slowed in the penultimate hour, the car travelling back to the pits slowly.  Suddenly the car was back up to speed but Kobayashi still headed to the pits for the car to be checked.

Kazuki Nakajima crossed the line and stood with Sebastien Buemi and Fernando Alonso on the top step of the podium. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez were second. 

The two Rebellion Racing R13s were third and fourth, with Thomas Laurent, Mathias Beche and Gustavo Menezes taking the final podium position one lap ahead of their teammates in the no1 R13-Gibson.  The no5 CEFC TRSM Racing was the only other finisher in the LMP1 category, with five retirements including the no11 SMP Racing BR01-AER of Jenson Button in the final hour of the race.

Porsche converted their early domination of the race to take a 1-2 in the LMGTE Pro category.  The no92 Porsche 911 RSR of Michael Christensen, Kevin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor finished the race after completing 344 laps, one more than their teammates Richard Lietz, Gimmi Bruni and Fred Makowiecki in the no91 911.  This win was Porsches 106th class victory at Le Mans, which added to the 70th anniversary celebrations this week at Le Mans. 

Ford finished 3rd and 4th with the no68 Ford GT finishing ahead of the no67 WEC entered car of Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell an Tony Kanaan, who all finished just one lap behind the winning car.

The LMP2 category was dominated by one car, the no26 G-Drive Racing Oreca 07-Gibson of Roman Rusinov, Andrea Pizzitola and Jean-Eric Vergne.  The team had travelled to Le Mans on the back of two wins at Spa-Francorchamps and Monza and a third and greatest track in endurance racing gave them three in a row.

The G-Drive Racing crew finished two laps ahead of their nearest rivals, the no36 Signatech Alpine Matmut Alpine A470-Gibson of Nico Lapierre, Pierre Thiriet and Andre Negrao, with another lap on the third placed car of Vincent Capillaire, Jonathan Hirschi and Tristan Gommendy in the no39 Graff-SO24 Oreca-Gibson.

There were even more celebrations for Porsche as the no77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR driven by Matt Cambell, Christian Ried and Julien Andlauer secured the victory in the LMGTE Am class, 1minute 39 seconds ahead of the no54 Spirit of Race Ferrari of Thomas Flohr, Francesco Castellachi and Giancarlo Fisichella.  The victory for the Dempsey Proton Porsche secured the German manufacturer their 107thclass victory at Le Mans.

Porsche continue to dominate LMGTE, with the no92 Porsche over a lap ahead of the no91 911 RSR as the clock went past the 18 hour point. The no68 Ford GT of Dirk Muller was lying in third position, 31 seconds behind the second placed Porsche.

The no26 G-Drive Racing Oreca continued to lead the LMP2 class with Roman Rusinov still in the car at the top of the hour.  The Russian team is over a lap ahead of the second placed car, the no23 Panis Barthez Competition Ligier, with the no36 Signatech Alpine A470 a further lap behind in third.

The no77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche of Christian Ried is also still out in front of the class, over a lap ahead of the no54 Spirit of Race Ferrari F488 of Giancarlo Fisichella

There were plenty of incidents in the third quarter of the 86th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.  Both Toyotas had to serve stop and go penalties for speeding under slow zone regulations.

There were several cars that went off track during the night with some retirements.  The no47 Cetilar Villorba Corse Dallara went of into the gravel at Indianapolis and had to be recovered, the Italian team able to return to the track.  The no82 BMW wasn’t so lucky, with Alexander Sims going off into the wall at Porsche Curves.  The heavy damage forced the retirement of the car.  The no84 JMW Motorsport Ferrari also went off at Porsche and there were reports of oil on track.

The no88 Dempsey-Proton Competition was another retirement from the LMGTE Am class after hitting the barriers, with the no10 Dragonspeed BR01 of Ben Hanley also going off at Porsche Curves a few minutes later.

The no52 AF Corse Ferrari had to serve a drive through penalty for speeding in the pitlane.

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