says his number 7 crew were forced “to take risks” by virtue of the their fourth row starting position at Fuji, which saw the team quickly make ground on the non-hybrid LMP1’s, but find themselves on the wrong tyre in the early phase of the race.

 

“Having to start P8 we had to take a risky strategy”, said Kobayashi.

 

 

“It was a little bit extreme with the wet tyres. After the formation lap we were struggling to warm them up, so the strategy wasn’t working”.

 

“After three laps we decided to change our tyres to the same as car eight, but the timing with the inter tyre was quite late. But when we changed to dry tyres, that’s when things were getting positive for us”, explained Kamui.

 

“It was a tough start at the beginning of the week, but the team did great preparation”.

 

’s stint in particular was crucial to the win, having extended the gap to the sister car of Fernando Alonso and allowing the number 7 car to effectively control the gap for the remainder of the race.

 

“It was tricky”, explained Conway.

 

“At points we were on the new tyre and they were on the old and then it was vice versa with Fernando. We managed to pull out the gap a little bit more, which was good. But obviously in a six hour race you never know what can happen”.

 

Jose Maria Lopez endured a difficult Saturday after losing pole position for speeding in pit lane during qualifying. However the four-time World Touring Car Champion was quick to erase those memories to record his first World Endurance race victory.

 

“The disappointment from yesterday was really hard”, admitted Lopez.

 

“When it happens with team mates, it’s much harder than when you are racing alone. We had to turn the page and when I took over we already had an eighteen second lead. After that it was just a question of managing (the lead)”.

 

“We had a good car and I never felt like we were losing ground”, added Lopez.

 

“That gave me a lot of confidence”.

 

Image: Richard Washbrooke Photography