Buemi, Nakajima and Hartley lead Toyota 1-2 Victory in Fuji
The #8 Toyota Hybrid TS050 LMP1 of Kazuki Nakajima, and Brendon Hartley finished in first place ahead of the sister #7 car of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose-Maria Lopez.
Toyota’s 1-2 performance at Fuji comes on the 60th race of the FIA World Endurance Championship, formed in 2012 in partnersip between the FIA and the ACO to replace the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC).
Third place in LMP1 class belonged to the Gibson powered #1 Rebellion Racing R-13 of Bruno Senna, Norman Nato and Gustavo Menezes. The Rebellion completed 230 laps around the circuit, two laps down from the two hybrid Toyotas.
The #8’s lead was briefly put into question when Hartley exceeded the 60kph pitlane speed limit during a pitstop, which resulted in a drive through penalty for the Toyota newcomer.
“It was a bit of mistake in the middle of the race with a drive through,” said co-driver Nakajima after the race. “In the end it was good race or us. We had good pace. It’s a great moment.”
Both Team LNT Ginetta G60-LT-P1 LMP1s struggled in the race, with the #5 Ginetta suffering a brake failure. The #5 car would finish in 12th overall while the sister #4 car finished in 10th.
In LMP2 class, Racing Team Nederland NL scored its maiden victory in the FIA World Endurance Championship at the hands of Frits van Eerd, Giedo van der Garde and Nyck de Vries.
The team, who switched to a Gibson powered Oreca-07 chassis for the 2019-20 season, completed 222 laps for the race. De Vries also managed to complete the fastest lap in class with a 1:30.042 towards the end of the race, well over a second clear of the LMP2 driver field.
Speaking after the race, co-driver and team owner van Eerd praised the team’s efforts.
“I couldn’t be more proud [of the team]. What a day. Now we are on the podium. Unbelievable. What an achievement,” said van Eerd.
The #38 JOTA Racing Oreca 07-Gibson of Roberto Gonzalez, Antonio Felix da Costa and Anthony Davidson finished 2nd in class. However the car failed post-race scrutineering due to a a faulty neutral switch used to disconnect the transmission. The team was subsequently disqualified from the race result.
This promoted the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca of Ho-Pin Tung, Gabriel Aubry and Will Stevens to second place, while the #22 United Autosports Oreca 07-Gibson of Filipe Albuqerque, Phil Hanson and Oliver Jarvis rounded out the podium in third.
Aston Martin swept top honours in the GTE ranks, with the #95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE of Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim finishing first in GTE-Pro class and the TF Sport Vantage first in GTE-Am class with Salih Yoluc, Charlie Eastwood and Jonny Adam on driving duties.
Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen finished second in GTE-Pro class in the new for 2019 Porsche 911 RSR (‘19), while Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin round out the podium in the #97 Aston Martin Vantage GTE.
The 6 hour enduro saw a number of incidents during the race. The GTE-Am #88 Dempsey-Proton Racing, at the hands of Satoshi Hoshino, was given a 10 second stop and go penalty for causing a collision with the #98 GTE-Am Aston Martin Vantage with Paul Dalla Lana at the wheel.
Hoshino was subsequently penalized again with a drive through penalty for overtaking during a safety car period.
Gianmaria Bruni in the #91 Porsche 911 RSR was given a drive through penalty for repeatedly abusing track limits, even after having received several warnings from race control and was shown the black and white flag for the infractions.
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