Le Mans 24h: Alonso, Buemi, Nakajima win again for Toyota

Jamie Klein
Motorsport

The #7 TS050 Hybrid looked to have an edge over the sister car - and Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez looked well set for a straightforward victory over the #8 car until drama struck the trio with just over an hour of the race remaining.

Lopez had more than two minutes in hand when he pitted to replace a suspected front-right puncture, but it was in fact the left-rear that needed changing, forcing the Argentinian to limp back to the pits. He resumed 50s down on Nakajima in the #8 car once the issue was solved.

After assuming the lead when Nakajima made his final routine stop, Lopez pitted for the final time with 20 minutes to go and took the flag only 16s in arrears.

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Victory for Alonso, Nakajima and Buemi also guaranteed them FIA World Endurance Championship honours, with Buemi earning that accolade for the second time after his 2014 triumph.

The best of the non-hybrid LMP1s dropped off the lead lap early in hour five, and by the finish the third-placed car, SMP Racing's #11 BR Engineering BR1, was six laps down on the winning car.

Le Mans debutant Stoffel Vandoorne and his teammates in the #11 car, Mikhail Aleshin and Vitaly Petrov, enjoyed a virtually-trouble free run to ensure SMP came out on top against its main rival Rebellion Racing, which suffered dramas with both of its R-13s.

The #3 survived a crash for Thomas Laurent in the evening without losing a lap, thanks to rapid pitwork and a well-timed safety car, but Gustavo Menezes was less fortunate when he got the car beached in the gravel at the Porsche Curves with just over six hours to go.

That was followed by numerous trips to the garage that left the #3 machine down in fifth and 15 laps down on the winning car, five laps behind the #1 Rebellion of Neel Jani, Bruno Senna and Andre Lotterer which had dropped out of the fight for privateer honours before night fell.

SMP could have made it a three-four if not for a terminal crash at the Porsche Curves for Egor Orudzhev in the #17 BR1 he shared with Stephane Sarrazin and Sergey Sirotkin.

Neither of the remaining LMP1s, the DragonSpeed BR1 and the ByKolles entry, were still in the race by sunrise. The #10 BR1 was plagued and ultimately halted by persistent electronic gremlins, while the #4 ENSO CLM P1/01 suffered a terminal gearshift problem in the early hours.

LMP2: Signatech Alpine seals dominant victory

Signatech trio Nicolas Lapierre, Pierre Thiriet and Andre Negrao secured a dominant victory in the LMP2 division in their #36 Alpine-branded Oreca, backing up their inherited victory of last year and also securing WEC class championship victory in the process.

Their triumph again owed much to G-Drive Racing hitting trouble, as the #26 Aurus-badged Oreca shared by Roman Rusinov, Jean-Eric Vergne and Job van Uitert gave up a dominant three-minute lead after losing 20 minutes to a wiring issue during a routine stop in hour 19.

From there, the #36 crew was not challenged for victory, having already established a lap's buffer over the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca shared by Ho-Pin Tung, Stephane Richelmi and Gabriel Aubry, which lost ground when the car lost a lap with a puncture.

Third place went to the polesitting #28 TDS Oreca of Loic Duval, Matthieu Vaxiviere and Francois Perrodo, who enjoyed an easy run to what became the final podium place after Pastor Maldonado crashed the #31 DragonSpeed Oreca at Tertre Rouge with just under seven hours remaining.

Best of the non-Orecas was the fourth-placed United Autosports LMP2 of Phil Hanson, Paul di Resta and Filipe Albuquerque, two laps down, ahead of the IDEC Sport Oreca and the G-Drive car, which was able to recover from its issue to finish sixth, four laps down.

The sister Jackie Chan DC Racing car failed to finish after suffering a gearbox failure while running inside the top five.

GTE Pro: Ferrari wins after Corvette heartbreak

Ferrari scored its first GTE Pro class victory since 2014 thanks to the efforts of James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Daniel Serra in the #51 AF Corse 488 GTE.

The vagaries of the safety car periods had essentially turned the battle for honours into a two-horse race between the #51 Ferrari and the #63 Corvette of Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller heading into the morning hours.

However, the 21st-hour intervention caused by Nyck de Vries’ high-speed off in the Racing Team Nederland Dallara at Indianapolis led to the #63 car getting held at the end of pitlane, which handed the #51 Ferrari a one-minute lead it would never lose.

Any chance of Corvette salvaging a podium finish was lost when Magnussen spun at the Porsche Curves, making light contact with the barriers, which cost the car two laps. A further 15-minute trip to the garage left it five laps off the pace.

Corvette had already lost one car when Marcel Fassler hit the barriers at the same part of the track with force towards the end of the sixth hour, the result of contact with the #88 Dempsey-Proton Porsche of Satoshi Hoshino for which the stewards judged Fassler to blame.

Behind the winning Ferrari, Porsche filled out the remaining spots on the podium, with the #91 car of Gianmaria Bruni, Frederic Makowiecki and Richard Lietz beating the best of the IMSA entries, the #93 of Nick Tandy, Earl Bamber and Patrick Pilet, by under 20s.

Ford’s quartet of retro-liveried GTs filled out the next four places, led by the #68 machine of 2016 class winners Sebastien Bourdais, Dirk Muller and Joey Hand.

Exhaust problems in the night cost the #92 Porsche crew any of chance of defending their 2018 victory, but 10th and fifth among the WEC points-scoring cars was enough to ensure Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen came away with title honours.

Both BMW and Aston Martin had races to forget, BMW’s top finisher finishing six laps down in 11th and both Astons suffering problems in the night.

Marco Sorensen’s violent crash at Indianapolis in the #95 Vantage GTE, which had started on pole, made it one of three non-finishers in the class, along with the #64 Corvette and the #71 Ferrari, which suffered engine troubles.

GTE Am: Keating Ford survives late scare

Keating Motorsports' privateer Ford GT, piloted by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga, held on for a narrow win in GTE Am, surviving a late scare when owner-driver Keating picked up a stop-and-go-penalty.

The Wynn's-liveried #85 machine had led by as much as a lap, but in the closing hours the #56 Project 1 Porsche of Jorg Bergmeister, Egidio Perfetti and Patrick Lindsey had worked its way back into the fray even before Keating earned his penalty for spinning his wheels in a pitstop.

That infraction reduced a 36s lead to less than 5s, but Bleekemolen was able to pull away in the final hour to secure victory by around 50s, helped by a late splash for Bergmeister - who nonetheless sealed WEC GTE Am class title honours along with his teammates.

The final spot on the class podium went to the JMW Motorsport Ferrari of Rodrigo Baptista, Jeff Segal and Wei Lu, which ended up only 40 seconds behind the Project 1 Porsche.

Full race results:

1

8

Switzerland
Switzerland

Sébastien Buemi
Kazuki Nakajima
Fernando Alonso

Japan
Japan
Spain
Spain

Toyota TS050 Hybrid

LMP1

385

2

7

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Mike Conway
Kamui Kobayashi
Jose Maria Lopez

Japan
Japan
Argentina
Argentina

Toyota TS050 Hybrid

LMP1

385

16.972

3

11

Russian Federation
Russian Federation

Vitaly Petrov
Mikhail Aleshin
Stoffel Vandoorne

Russian Federation
Russian Federation
Belgium
Belgium

BR Engineering BR1

LMP1

379

6 Laps

4

1

Switzerland
Switzerland

Neel Jani
Andre Lotterer
Bruno Senna

Germany
Germany
Brazil
Brazil

Rebellion R13

LMP1

376

9 Laps

5

3

France
France

Thomas Laurent
Nathanael Berthon
Gustavo Menezes

France
France
United States
United States

Rebellion R13

LMP1

370

15 Laps

6

36

France
France

Nicolas Lapierre
Andre Negrao
Pierre Thiriet

Brazil
Brazil
France
France

Alpine A470

LMP2

368

17 Laps

7

38

China
China

Ho-Pin Tung
Stéphane Richelmi
Gabriel Aubry

Monaco
Monaco
France
France

Oreca 07

LMP2

367

18 Laps

8

28

France
France

François Perrodo
Matthieu Vaxiviere
Loic Duval

France
France
France
France

Oreca 07

LMP2

366

19 Laps

9

22

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Philip Hanson
Filipe Albuquerque
Paul di Resta

Portugal
Portugal
United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Ligier JSP 217

LMP2

365

20 Laps

10

48

France
France

Paul Lafargue
Paul-Loup Chatin
Memo Rojas

France
France
Mexico
Mexico

Oreca 07

LMP2

364

21 Laps

11

26

Russian Federation
Russian Federation

Roman Rusinov
Job Van Uitert
Jean-Eric Vergne

Netherlands
Netherlands
France
France

Aurus 01

LMP2

364

21 Laps

12

30

France
France

Nico Jamin
Pierre Ragues
Romain Dumas

France
France
France
France

Oreca 07

LMP2

363

22 Laps

13

23

Austria
Austria

Rene Binder
Julien Canal
Will Stevens

France
France
United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Ligier JSP 217

LMP2

362

23 Laps

14

39

France
France

Tristan Gommendy
Vincent Capillaire
Jonathan Hirschi

France
France
Switzerland
Switzerland

Oreca 07

LMP2

362

23 Laps

15

25

France
France

David Zollinger
Andrea Pizzitola
John Falb

France
France
United States
United States

Oreca 07

LMP2

357

28 Laps

16

20

Denmark
Denmark

Anders Fjordbach
Dennis Andersen
Mathias Beche

Denmark
Denmark
Switzerland
Switzerland

Oreca 07

LMP2

356

29 Laps

17

50

France
France

Erwin Creed
Romano Ricci
Nicholas Boulle

France
France
United States
United States

Ligier JSP 217

LMP2

355

30 Laps

18

47

Italy
Italy

Roberto Lacorte
Giorgio Sernagiotto
Andrea Belicchi

Italy
Italy
Italy
Italy

Dallara P217

LMP2

352

33 Laps

19

32

Ireland
Ireland

Ryan Cullen
Alex Brundle

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Ligier JSP 217

LMP2

348

37 Laps

20

51

Italy
Italy

Alessandro Pier Guidi
James Calado
Daniel Serra

United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Brazil
Brazil

Ferrari 488 GTE EVO

LMGTE PRO

342

43 Laps

21

91

Italy
Italy

Gianmaria Bruni
Richard Lietz
Frédéric Makowiecki

Austria
Austria
France
France

Porsche 911 RSR

LMGTE PRO

342

43 Laps

22

93

France
France

Patrick Pilet
Earl Bamber
Nick Tandy

New Zealand
New Zealand
United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Porsche 911 RSR

LMGTE PRO

342

43 Laps

23

68

United States
United States

Joey Hand
Dirk Muller
Sébastien Bourdais

Germany
Germany
France
France

Ford GT

LMGTE PRO

342

43 Laps

24

67

Guernsey
Guernsey

Andy Priaulx
Harry Tincknell
Jonathan Bomarito

United Kingdom
United Kingdom
United States
United States

Ford GT

LMGTE PRO

342

43 Laps

25

69

Australia
Australia

Ryan Briscoe
Richard Westbrook
Scott Dixon

United Kingdom
United Kingdom
New Zealand
New Zealand

Ford GT

LMGTE PRO

341

44 Laps

26

66

Germany
Germany

Stefan Mücke
Olivier Pla
Billy Johnson

France
France
United States
United States

Ford GT

LMGTE PRO

340

45 Laps

27

29

Netherlands
Netherlands

Frits van Eerd
Giedo van der Garde
Nyck de Vries

Netherlands
Netherlands
Netherlands
Netherlands

Dallara P217

LMP2

340

45 Laps

28

94

Germany
Germany

Sven Muller
Mathieu Jaminet
Dennis Olsen

France
France
Norway
Norway

Porsche 911 RSR

LMGTE PRO

339

46 Laps

29

63

Denmark
Denmark

Jan Magnussen
Antonio Garcia
Mike Rockenfeller

Spain
Spain
Germany
Germany

Chevrolet Corvette C7R

LMGTE PRO

337

48 Laps

30

92

Denmark
Denmark

Michael Christensen
Kevin Estre
Laurens Vanthoor

France
France
Belgium
Belgium

Porsche 911 RSR

LMGTE PRO

337

48 Laps

31

82

Brazil
Brazil

Augusto Farfus
Antonio Felix da Costa
Jesse Krohn

Portugal
Portugal
Finland
Finland

BMW M8 GTE

LMGTE PRO

335

50 Laps

32

85

United States
United States

Ben Keating
Jeroen Bleekemolen
Felipe Fraga

Netherlands
Netherlands
Brazil
Brazil

Ford GT

LMGTE AM

334

51 Laps

33

56

Germany
Germany

Jörg Bergmeister
Patrick Lindsey
Egidio Perfetti

United States
United States
Norway
Norway

Porsche 911 RSR

LMGTE AM

334

51 Laps

34

84

United States
United States

Jeff Segal
Rodrigo Baptista
Wei Lu

Brazil
Brazil
Canada
Canada

Ferrari 488 GTE

LMGTE AM

334

51 Laps

35

62

United States
United States

Cooper MacNeil
Toni Vilander
Robert Smith

Finland
Finland
United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Ferrari 488 GTE

LMGTE AM

333

52 Laps

36

77

Australia
Australia

Matt Campbell
Christian Ried
Julien Andlauer

Germany
Germany
France
France

Porsche 911 RSR

LMGTE AM

332

53 Laps

37

57

Japan
Japan

Takeshi Kimura
Kei Cozzolino
Côme Ledogar

Japan
Japan
France
France

Ferrari 488 GTE

LMGTE AM

332

53 Laps

38

78

Monaco
Monaco

Louis Prette
Philippe Prette
Vincent Abril

Monaco
Monaco
France
France

Porsche 911 RSR

LMGTE AM

332

53 Laps

39

61

Argentina
Argentina

Luis Perez Companc
Matthew Griffin
Matteo Cressoni

Ireland
Ireland
Italy
Italy

Ferrari 488 GTE

LMGTE AM

331

54 Laps

40

86

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Michael Wainwright
Benjamin Barker
Thomas Preining

United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Germany
Germany

Porsche 911 RSR

LMGTE AM

331

54 Laps

41

83

Italy
Italy

Manuela Gostner
Rahel Frey
Michelle Gatting

Switzerland
Switzerland
Denmark
Denmark

Ferrari 488 GTE

LMGTE AM

330

55 Laps

42

89

Brazil
Brazil

Pipo Derani
Oliver Jarvis
Jules Gounon

United Kingdom
United Kingdom
France
France

Ferrari 488 GTE EVO

LMGTE PRO

329

56 Laps

43

70

Japan
Japan

Motoaki Ishikawa
Olivier Beretta
Eddie Cheever III

Monaco
Monaco
Italy
Italy

Ferrari 488 GTE

LMGTE AM

328

57 Laps

44

90

Turkey
Turkey

Salih Yoluc
Euan Hankey
Charles Eastwood

United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Ireland
Ireland

Aston Martin Vantage

LMGTE AM

327

58 Laps

45

54

Switzerland
Switzerland

Thomas Flohr
Francesco Castellacci
Giancarlo Fisichella

Italy
Italy
Italy
Italy

Ferrari 488 GTE

LMGTE AM

327

58 Laps

46

97

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Alex Lynn
Maxime Martin
Jonathan Adam

Belgium
Belgium
United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Aston Martin Vantage AMR

LMGTE PRO

325

60 Laps

47

34

Poland
Poland

Jakub Smiechowski
James Winslow
Nigel Moore

United Kingdom
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Ligier JSP 217

LMP2

325

60 Laps

48

60

Italy
Italy

Claudio Schiavoni
Andrea Piccini
Sergio Pianezzola

Italy
Italy
Italy
Italy

Ferrari 488 GTE

LMGTE AM

324

61 Laps

49

81

Netherlands
Netherlands

Nick Catsburg
Martin Tomczyk
Philipp Eng

Germany
Germany
Austria
Austria

BMW M8 GTE

LMGTE PRO

309

76 Laps

43

Canada
Canada

John Farano
Arjun Maini
Norman Nato

India
India
France
France

Oreca 07

LMP2

295

90 Laps

31

Mexico
Mexico

Roberto Gonzalez
Pastor Maldonado
Anthony Davidson

Venezuela
Venezuela
United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Oreca 07

LMP2

245

140 Laps

37

Denmark
Denmark

David Heinemeier Hansson
Jordan King
Ricky Taylor

United Kingdom
United Kingdom
United States
United States

Oreca 07

LMP2

199

186 Laps

17

France
France

Stéphane Sarrazin
Egor Orudzhev
Sergey Sirotkin

Russian Federation
Russian Federation
Russian Federation
Russian Federation

BR Engineering BR1

LMP1

163

222 Laps

4

France
France

Tom Dillmann
Oliver Webb
Paolo Ruberti

United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Italy
Italy

ENSO CLM P1/01

LMP1

163

222 Laps

49

Slovakia
Slovakia

Miro Konopka
Henning Enqvist
Konstantin Tereshchenko

Sweden
Sweden
Russian Federation
Russian Federation

Ligier JSP 217

LMP2

160

225 Laps

71

Italy
Italy

Davide Rigon
Sam Bird
Miguel Molina

United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Spain
Spain

Ferrari 488 GTE EVO

LMGTE PRO

140

245 Laps

95

Denmark
Denmark

Marco Sorensen
Nicki Thiim
Darren Turner

Denmark
Denmark
United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Aston Martin Vantage AMR

LMGTE PRO

132

253 Laps

98

Canada
Canada

Paul Dalla Lana
Pedro Lamy
Mathias Lauda

Portugal
Portugal
Austria
Austria

Aston Martin Vantage

LMGTE AM

87

298 Laps

64

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Oliver Gavin
Tommy Milner
Marcel Fassler

United States
United States
Switzerland
Switzerland

Chevrolet Corvette C7R

LMGTE PRO

82

303 Laps

88

Japan
Japan

Satoshi Hoshino
Giorgio Roda
Matteo Cairoli

Italy
Italy
Italy
Italy

Porsche 911 RSR

LMGTE AM

79

306 Laps

10

Sweden
Sweden

Henrik Hedman
Ben Hanley
Renger van der Zande

United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Netherlands
Netherlands

BR Engineering BR1

LMP1

76

309 Laps

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