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Toyota Finally Victorious at the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2018!

18 June, 2018, 19:06 | Author: Vicki Mclaughlin
  • Alonso looking good for the Le Mans win and a step closer to the triple crown.

Expected to dominate the 86th edition of the race, as the only major manufacturer in the top LMP1 category after champions Porsche withdrew past year, Toyota's victory came at the 20th attempt.

He explained a loss of concentration was behind the mistake that resulted in the #7 Toyota TS050 HYBRID he shared with Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez dropping a lap behind the winning auto. Despite losing time behind due to an ill-timed safety vehicle, double F1 champ Alonso put in a long and strong stint to close the gap, before his auto built a solid lead on Sunday morning.

With a one-two finish they became only the second Japanese vehicle company, after Mazda in 1991, to win the world's greatest endurance race.

Victory means Alonso has now achieved the second part of the Triple Crown, adding victory at Le Mans to his two Monaco Grands Prix victories.

And Kobayashi missed a pit stop in the penultimate hour and had to complete much of a lap on electrical power alone because he did not have enough fuel. "I've got into the rhythm of the night", Alonso had said over the team radio as he closed the gap.

The #68 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team USA vehicle finished in third place in GTE Pro through the services Joey Hand, Dirk Muller and Sebastien Bourdais, earlier challenging the #91 Rothmans-inspired Porsche for second in an intense battle around the 13.626km-long circuit. Alonso is a two-time victor in Monaco.

Alonso looking good for the Le Mans win and a step closer to the triple crown.
Le Mans: Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso victorious in Toyota 1-2

"It was a tense 24 hours, with two cars within a minute for most of the race".

"I attempted [Indy] past year with that intention".

"This is definitely the biggest win of my career", said the Swiss driver.

As Toyota was the only manufacturer-backed team racing in the LMP1 category this year, it was always a clear favorite to take victory.

The presence of a sporting icon at Le Mans guaranteed the race, Toyota and the WEC far greater worldwide attention than had it been six lesser-known drivers competing in what was effectively a private Toyota battle.

Former Formula One champion Jenson Button raced for the private SMP team, but the Briton's non-hybrid vehicle faced early problems with engine trouble that forced its retirement in the final hour. Button's recovery drive ended when he suffered an engine failure with just a few hours left to run. One of its cars made the finish, albeit well down the order after numerous problems.

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