Toyota Takes World Championship at Snowy Spa
Fernando Alonso, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima endured rain, sleet and snow to edge towards a successful world Championship defence after taking victory at the 6 Hours of Spa secured the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) teams’ title.
The number 8 car was virtually unchallenged following a sensor failure on the number 7 sister TS050 Hybrid forced it into the garage for repairs at approximately half race distance. The delay would lose Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez five laps, but would recover to finish sixth overall behind the number 1 Rebellion entry of Andre Lotterer, Bruno Senna and Neel Jani.
“That was definitely not an easy race, with a couple of issues in the first part in addition to the weather”, said Fernando Alonso after the race.
“The race was up and down in terms of emotions. The most important thing today was securing the teams’ World Championship”.
The non-Hybrids would initially fare well against the Toyotas in the mixed conditions when the Japanese manufacturer miscued their tyre stops. SMP Racing’s pair of BR Engineering/AER’s would eventually finish third and fourth, with the number 11 car of WEC debutant Stoffel Vandoorne, Mikhail Aleshin and Vitaly Petrov taking the final podium position.
The the number 17 sister car of Sergey Sirotkin, Stephane Sarrazin and Egor Orudzhev lost a lap after losing a right front wheel close to the halfway mark.
DragonSpeed caused an upset in LMP2, by taking victory courtesy ahead of G-Drive Racing and Signatech Apline.
An incredible final stint from Pastor Maldonado, saw the Venezuelan to jump Gabriel Aubrey (JC DC Racing) and Nicolas Lapierre (Signatech Alpine) to give himself and co-drivers Anthony Davidson and Roberto Gonzalez the class win ahead of LMP2 pole sitters Jean-Eric Vergne, Roman Rusinov and Job van Uitert.
Lapierre would take the final podium position alongside Andre Negrao and Pierre Thiriet, giving the number 36 crew the LMP2 championship crown over Aubry, Ho-Pin Tung and Stephane Richelmi, who finished fourth in the number 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing entry.
Aston Martin notched up a second victory for its new Vantage GTE, with Maxime Martin and Alex Lynn taking the win in the LMGTE Pro ahead of the number 51 AF Corse Ferrari of Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado and number 92 Porsche of Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen.
The final podium spot put Estre and Christensen within reach of the drivers’ title and secure the GTE manufacturers’ title when BMW cost itself a likely second place by pitting both cars in the final part of the race.
In LMGTE Am, the number 77 Proton Competition Porsche of Christian Ried, Matt Campbell and Riccardo Pera ahead of the pole-sitting 90 TF Sport Aston Martin of Euan Hankey, Salih Yoluc and Charlie Eastwood.
The number 61 Clearwater Racing’s Ferrari of took the final podium whilst LMGTE Am championship leaders Egidio Perfetti, Patrick Lindsey and Jorg Bergmeister finished fifth in the 56 Project 1 Porsche.
Images: Toyota Gazoo Racing
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